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Full text of "Cass Timberlane"

Drenched Book 

TEXT CROSS 
WITHIN THE 
BOOK ONLY 

Tight Binding 



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Gift of 
YALE UNIVERSITY 




With the aid of the 

ROCKEFELLER FOUNDATION 

1949 



CASS TIMBERLANE 





Our Mr. Wrenn 1914 

The Trail of the Hawk 1915 

The Job 1917 

The Innocents 1917 

Free Air 1919 

Main Street 1920 

Babbitt 1922 

Arrowsmith 1925 

Mantrap 1926 

Eteier Gantry 1927 

The Man Who Knew CooUdge 1928 

Dodsworth 1929 

Ann Vickers 1933 

Wor fc o/ Ait 1934 

7* Can'f Happen Here 1935 

77w? Prodigal Parents 1938 

Belnel Meniday 1940 

Gideon Pfemfefc 1943 

C<ws Timberlane 1945 



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A NOVEL OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES <$& 

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SINOAIP. LEWIS 




RANDOM HOUSE 




Copyright, 1945, by Sinclair Lewis 
Published simultaneously in Canada by 

Random House of Canada Limited 
Manufactured in the United States of America 



TO 
i . m . JR. 



The scene of this story, the small city of Grand Republic 
in Central Minnesota, is entirely imaginary, as are all the 
characters. 

But I know tJiat the diameters will be "identified," each of 
them with several different real persons in each of the Minne- 
sota cities in which I have happily lingered: in Minneapolis, 
St. Paul, Winona, St. Cloud, Mankato, Fergus Falls and par- 
ticularly, since it is only a little larger than "Grand Republic" 
and since I live there, in the radiant, sea-fronting, hillside city 
of Duluth. 

All such guesses will be wrong, but they will be so convincing 
that even the writer will be astonished to learn how exactly 
he has drawn some judge or doctor or banker or housewife of 
whom he has never heard, or regretful to discover how poison- 
ously he is supposed to have described people of whom he is 
particularly fond. 

SINCLAIR LEWIS 



CASS TIMBERLANE 



I 



UNTIL JINNY MARSHLAND was called to the stand, the Judge was 
deplorably sleepy. 

The case of Miss Tilda Hatter vs. the City of Grand Republic 
had been yawning its way through testimony about a not very 
interesting sidewalk. Plaintiffs attorney desired to show that the 
city had been remarkably negligent in leaving upon that side- 
walk a certain lump of ice which, on February 7, 1941, at or 
about the hour of 9:37 P.M., had caused the plaintiff to slip, to 
slide, and to be prone upon the public way, in a state of ignominy 
and sore pain. There had been an extravagant amount of data 
as to whether the lump of ice had been lurking sixteen, eighteen, 
or more than eighteen feet from the Clipper Hardware Store. 
And all that May afternoon the windows had been closed, to 
keep out street noises, and the court room had smelled, as it 
looked, like a schoolroom. 

Timberlane, J., was in an agony of drowsiness. He was faith- 
ful enough, and he did not miss a word, but he heard it all as in 
sleep one hears malignant snoring. 

He was a young judge: the Honorable Cass Timberlane, 
of the Twenty-Second Judicial District, State of Minnesota. He 
was forty-one, and in his first year on the bench, after a term in 
Congress. He was a serious judge, a man of learning, a believer 
in the majesty of the law, and he looked like a tall Red Indian. 
But he was wishing that he were out bass-fishing, or at home, 
reading Walden or asleep on a cool leather couch. 

Preferably asleep. 

All the spectators in the room, all five of them, were yawning 
and chewing gum. The learned counsel for the plaintiff, Mr. 
Hervey Plint, the dullest lawyer in Grand Republic, a middle- 
aged man with a miscellaneous sort of face, was questioning 
Miss Hatter. He was a word-dragger, an uh'er, a looker to the 
ceiling for new thoughts. 

"Uh Miss Hatter, now will you tell us what was the uh 
the purpose of ^our going out, that evening I mean, I mean 

3 



how did you happen to be out on an evening which I think 
all the previous testimony agrees that it was, well, I mean, uh, 
you might call it an inclement evening, but not such as would 
have prevented the, uh, the adequate cleaning of the thorough* 
fares - ' 

"Jekshn leading quest," said the city attorney. 

"Jekshn stained," said the Court. 

"I will rephrase my question/' confided Mr. Flint. He was a 
willing rephraser, but the phrases always became duller and 
duller and duller. 

Sitting above them on the bench like Chief Iron Cloud, a 
lean figure of power, the young father of 'his people, Judge 
Timberlane started to repeat* the list of presidents, a charm 
which usually would keep him awake. He got through it fairly 
well, stumbling only on Martin Van Buren and Millard Fill- 
more, as was reasonable, but he remained as sleepy as ever. 

Without missing any of Miss Hatter's more spectacular state- 
ments, His Honor plunged into the Counties of Minnesota, all 
eighty-seven of them, with their several county-seats: 

Aitkin Aitkin 
Anoka Anoka 
Becker Detroit Lakes 
Beltrami Bemidji 

He had reached "Olmsted Rochester" when he perceived 
that Miss Hatter had gone back to her natural mummy-case, 
and the clerk was swearing in a witness who pricked His Honor 
into wakefulness. 

How did I ever miss seeing her, in a city as small as this? 

Certainly not four girls in town that are as pretty, he reflected. 

The new witness was a half -tamed hawk of a girl, twenty- 
three or -four, not tall, smiling, lively of eye. The light edged 
gently the clarity of her cheeks, but there was something daring 
in her delicate Roman nose, her fierce black hair. Her gray suit 
indicated prosperity, which in Grand Republic was respecta- 
bility. 

Be an exciting kid to know, thought Timberlane, J., that 

purist and precisionist and esteemed hunter of du$fe^bat chess- 

4 



player and Latinist, who was a man unmarried at least, un- 
married since his recent and regrettable divorce. 

The young woman alighted on the oak witness-chair like a 
swallow on a tombstone. 

Counselor Flint said gloomily, "Will you please just give us 
your, uh, your name and profession and address, please?" 

"Jinny Marshland Virginia Marshland. I'm draftsman and 
designer for the Fliegend Fancy Box and Pasteboard Toy Manu- 
facturing Company, and a kind of messenger man of all work/' 

"Residence, please." 

"I live up in Pioneer Falls, mostly. I was born there, and I 
taught school there for a while. But you mean here in Grand 
Republic? I live with Miss Hatter, at 179% West Flandrau 
Street." 

Profoundly, as one who doubts the eternal course of the 
planets, Mr. Plint worried, "You board with Miss Hatter?" 

"Yes, sir." 

Jinny and Judge Cass Timberlane looked at each other. He 
had been approving her voice. He loved his native city of Grand 
Republic, and esteemed the housewifery and true loyal hearts of 
its 43,000 daughters, but it disturbed him that so many of them 
had voices like the sound of a file being drawn across the edge 
of a sheet of brass. But Miss Marshland's voice was light and 
flexible and round. 

1 would fall for a girl merely because she has fine ankles 

and a clear voice, I who have maintained that the most wretched 
error in all romances is this invariable belief that because a girl 
has a good nose and a smooth skin, therefore she will be agree- 
able to live with and well, make love to. The insanity that 
causes even superior men (meaning judges) to run passion- 
ately after magpies with sterile hearts. This, after-the revelations 
of female deception I've seen in divorce proceedings. I am cor- 
rupted by sentimentality. 

Mr. Plint was fretting his bone. "Now, uh, Miss Miss Marsh- 
land. Oh, yes, precisely. Now as I was saying, Miss Marshland, 
several people have testified that there was a party anyway, 
there were several guests at the Hatter residence that evening, 
and there was more or less eating and drinking, and what we 

5 



want to know is, was there any sign uh I mean any sign of in- 
toxicating beverages being consumed, I mean, particularly by 
Miss Hatter herself?" 

"No, she drank a coke. I might take a cocktail sometimes, but 
I'm sure Miss Hatter never touches a drop." 

Charles Sayward, the city attorney, was roused from slumber 
to protest, 1 move the testimony be stricken, as hearsay and 
irrelevant." 

Judge Timberlane said gravely, "I must grant that motion, 
Mr. Sayward, but don't you think you're being a little tech- 
nical?" 

"It is my humble understanding of court procedure, Your 
Honor, that it is entirely technical." 

(On the Heather Club golf course they called each other 
"Charles" and "Cass.") 

"On the other hand, Mr. City Attorney, you know that here 
in the Middlewest we pride ourselves on being less formal than 
the stately tribunals of Great Britain and our traditional East. I 
may be so bold as to say that even in court, we're almost human, 
and that on a day like this you may not have noticed it, Mr. 
City Attorney, but it is somewhat somnolent then we fre- 
quently permit any testimony that will give this jury" He 
smiled at the honest but bored citizens, "an actual picture of the 
issue. However," and now he smiled at Jinny, "I think you'd 
better confine yourself to answering the questions, without com- 
ment, Miss Marshland. Motion granted. Continue, Mr. Flint." 

As Jinny went on, without noticeably obeying the Court's 
command, Cass felt that the court-room air was fresher, that 
there might actually be some lif e and purpose to court proceed- 
ings. She was perhaps twenty-four to his forty-one, but he in- 
sisted that Jinny and he were young together, and in antagonism 
to the doddering Mr. Flint, the cobwebbed and molding 
Charles Sayward (who was thirty-five, by the records) and the 
Assyrian antiquity of the jury. 

He wanted to lean over the sharp oak edge of his lofty desk 
and demand of Jinny, "See here. You know the jury will give 
the Hatter woman approximately half of whatever she's suing 
for, no matter what nonsense we grind out. Let's go off and for- 

6 



get all this. I want to talk to you, and make it clear that I can 
be light-minded and companionable." 

But it came to him that this would not be the way to impress 
Jinny. She thought that he was a judge and a venerable figure; 
she probably thought that he was more columnar than her 
young suitors with their dancing and babble. He straightened, 
he placed his right forefinger senatorially against his cheek, he 
cleared his throat, and for her, glancing down to see if he was 
successfully fooling her, he pretended that he was a judge on a 
bench. 

She was explaining, to Mr. Flint's prompting, that she boarded 
at Miss Hatter's, along with Tracy Oleson (secretary to that 
industrial titan, Mr. Wargate), Lyra Coggs the librarian, Eino 
Roskinen, and three other young people. They were artistic and 
pretty refined. No indeed, they never got drunk, and if Tilda 
Hatter slipped on any ole lump of ice, that lump of ice was 
meant to be slipped on. Yes, she liked working for the Fliegend 
Company. She wasn't, she beamed, much of a draftsman, but 
Mr. and Mrs. Fliegend were so kind. She liked* it better than 
schoolteaching; you had to be so solemn in school. 

She was not loquacious so much as gay and natural. It was 
all fantastically irregular, but City Attorney Sayward had given 
up trying to check her, and he looked up at Judge Timber lane 
with humorous helplessness. The jury yearned over her as 
though they were her collective parent, and Counselor Flint 
had a notion, though he didn't know how in the world it had 
come about, that she was a useful witness. 

Only George Hame, the court reporter, was unmoved, as he 
made his swift symbols in a pulpy-looking notebook. To George, 
all accents and all moods, the shrieks of the widows of mur- 
dered bootleggers, the droning of certified "accountants ex- 
plaining crooked ledgers, the grumble <of Finnish or Polish 
homesteaders, were the same. What was said never seemed the 
important thing to George, but whether he got it all down. The 
Judge, his captain, could be unprofessionally enlivened by an 
unnecessary girl witness, after only five months on the bench, 
but George did not believe in women. He had a wife unremit- 
tingly productive of babies, for whose assembly-belt produc- 



tion he felt only accidentally responsible, and after sixteen years 
of court reporting, all witnesses, pretty or otherwise, were to 
him merely lumps of potato in a legal hash that was nourishing 
but tedious. 

Jinny Marshland finished her testimony, smiled at Cass, 
smiled at Tilda Hatter, and slipped out of the court room like a 
trout flicking down a stream. The case reverted to mumbling, 
and the Judge reverted to the list of Minnesota counties and to 
a sleepiness which made his shoulders ache, his eyes feel dusty 
and swollen. With his right hand, the large hand of a woodsman 
or a hunter, he gravely stroked the lapel of his dark-gray jacket, 
smoothed his painfully refined dark-blue tie, as he repeated: 

Otter Tail County-Fergus Falls 
Pennington-Thief River Falls 
Pine-Pine City 
Pipestone Pipestone 

Till half an hour ago he had been proud of the court room; of 
his high oak desk, jutting into the room like a prow, with a 
silken American flag, topped with a small gold eagle, erected 
beside the Judge's leather chair. He had been proud of the 
carved seal of Minnesota on the oak paneling behind the bench; 
of the restful dark-gray plaster walls; of the resplendently shiny 
oak benches, though they were hard upon the restless anatomy 
of the aching public. He had felt secure and busy, for this was 
his workshop, his studio, his laboratory, in which he was an 
artist-scientist, contributing to human progress and honor. 

Now it was a stuffy coop, absurdly small for a court room, 
barely able to hold eighty people when crowded. Such por- 
tions of the Eternal Law as were represented by the Statutes of 
the State of Minnesota seemed dreary today, and he wanted to 
be out in the May breeze, walking with Jinny Marshland. 

Cass was considered a conscientious judge, but he adjourned 
today at five minutes before the usual four o'clock. He could eat 
no more bran. 

Before he could hasten out into the open air, however, he still 
had half an hour of chamber work. He was rather proud of 
Chambers No. 3, Radisson County Court House. On his elec- 

8 



tion, when he had taken the room over, it already looked schol- 
arly and solid, with a cliff of law-books, a long oak table, a coun- 
cil of black leather chairs, and he had added the framed photo- 
graphs of Justices Holmes, Cardozo, and Brandeis . . . and of 
the historic bag of ducks that Dr, Roy Drover and he had shot 
in 1939. On his portly desk was a handsome bronze inkwell 
which he never used, and a stupendous bronze automatic cigar- 
lighter a gift which he had always disliked. 

He had to sign an injunction, to talk with a Swede who de- 
sired to be naturalized. Young Vincent Osprey, who overlaid 
with a high Yale Law School gloss a dullness almost equal to 
that of Mr. Hervey Flint, brought in a woman client, on the 
theory that she wanted wholesome advice about her coming 
divorce suit. She did not want advice; she wanted to get rid of 
her present spouse so that she could marry another with a more 
powerful kiss. But in most judicial districts of Minnesota, do- 
mestic-relations procedure is as fatherly and informal as a phy- 
sician's consultation, and Cass held forth to her. 

"Mrs. Nelson, a woman or a man has only four or five real 
friendships in his whole life. To lose one of them is to lose a 
chance to give and to trust. Am I being too discursive?" 

T ** 1 

1 1 ink so. 

"Well look, Mrs. Carlson " 

"Mrs. Nelson/' 

" Nelson. Look. In a divorce, the children are terrified. 
Have you any children?" 

"Not by Nelson/' 

Judge Timberlane glanced at Mr. Osprey and shook his head. 
The lawyer yelped, "All right, Mrs. Nelson, you skip along now. 
That's all His Honor has to say." 

When they were alone, Cass turned to Osprey, and it was to 
be seen that Osprey was his admirer. 

"No use, Vince. Let it go through. I figure she's hot to gallop 
to another marriage-bed. Otherwise I'd give her a red-hot lec- 
ture on the humiliations of divorce. I will facilitate any divorce, 
in case of cruelty or extreme boredom, which is worse but, 
Vince, divorce is hell. Don't you ever divorce Cerise, no matter 
how extravagant you say she is." 

9 



"You bet your life I wouldn't, Chief. I'm crazy about that girl." 

"You're lucky. If it weren't for my work, my life would be as 
empty as a traitor's after a war. Ever since Blanche divorced 
me why, Vince, I have nobody to show my little tin triumphs 
to. I envy Cerise and you. And I don't seem to find any girl that 
will take Blanche's place." 

As he spoke, Cass was reflecting that, after all, Jinny Marsh- 
land was just another migratory young woman. 

"But what about Christabel Grau, Chief? I thought you and 
she were half engaged," bubbled Vincent Osprey. 

"Oh, Chris is a very kind girl. I guess that's the trouble. I ap- 
parently want somebody who's so intelligent that she'll think 
I'm stupid, so independent that she'll never need me, so gay 
and daring that she'll think I'm slow. That's my pattern, Vince; 
that's my fate." 



THE CITY of Grand Republic, Radisson County, Minnesota, 
eighty miles north of Minneapolis, seventy-odd miles from 
Duluth, has 85,000 population. 

It is large enough to have a Renoir, a school-system scandal, 
several millionaires, and a slum. It lies in the confluent valleys 
where the Big Eagle River empties into the Sorshay River, 
which flows west to the Mississippi. 

Grand Republic grew rich two generations ago through the 
uncouth robbery of forests, iron mines, and soil for wheat. With 
these almost exhausted, it rests in leafy quiet, wondering 
whether to become a ghost town or a living city. The Chamber 
of Commerce says that it has already become a city, but, in 
secret places where the two bankers on the school board can- 
not hear them, the better schoolteachers deny this. 

At least there is in Grand Republic a remarkable number of 
private motor cars. It was a principal cause of his reputation for 
eccentricity that Cass Timberlane, on amiable spring days, 
walked the entire mile and a quarter from the court house to 
his home. 

10 



He climbed up Joseph Renshaw Brown Way to Ottawa 
Heights, on which were the Renoir and the millionaires and 
most of the houses provided with Architecture. 

He looked down on the Radisson County Court House, in 
which was his own court room, and he did not shudder. He was 
fondly accustomed to its romanticism and blurry inconvenience. 

It had been built in 1885 from the designs of an architect who 
was drunk upon Howard Pyle's illustrations to fairy tales. It was 
of a rich red raspberry brick trimmed with limestone, and it dis- 
played a round tower, an octagonal tower, a minaret, a massive 
entrance with a portcullis, two lofty flying balconies of iron, 
colored-glass windows with tablets or stone petals in the niches 
above them, a green and yellow mosaic roof with scarlet edging, 
and the breathless ornamental stairway from the street up to 
the main entrance without which no American public building 
would be altogether legal. 

Cass knew that it was as archaic as armor and even less com- 
fortable, yet he loved it as a symbol of the ancient and imperial 
law. It was his Westminster, his Sorbonne; it was the one place 
in which he was not merely a male in vulgar trousers, but a 
spiritual force such as might, with a great deal of luck and sev- 
eral hundreds of years, help to make of Grand Republic an- 
other Edinburgh. 

He had, too, an ancestral proprietary right in this legal palace, 
for his father had started off his furniture business ( wholesale 
as well as retail, and therefore noble) by providing most of the 
chairs and desks for the court house. 

When he had reached Varennes Boulevard, circling along the 
cliffs on top of Ottawa Heights, Cass could see the whole city, 
the whole valley, with the level oat and barley fields on the up- 
lands beyond. The Big Eagle River came in fro*m the south, 
bearing the hot murmurous air from the great cornfields, from 
the country of the vanquished Sioux; the Sorshay River, which 
had been called the Sorcier by the coureurs de bois, two hun- 
dred years ago, wound from a northern darkness of swamp and 
lakes and impenetrable jackpine thickets, the country of the 
tawny Chippewas. 

At the junction of the rivers was the modern city, steel and 

11 



cement and gasoline and electricity, as contemporary as Chi- 
cago if but one-fortieth the size and devoid of the rich raucous- 
ness of the Loop. The limestone magnificence of the Wargate 
Memorial Auditorium and the titanic Blue Ox National Bank 
Building (no less than twelve stories ), the carved and educated 
granite of the Alexander Hamilton High School, the Pantheon 
of the Duluth & Twin Cities Railroad Station, the furnaces and 
prodigious brick sheds of the Wargate Wood Products Cor- 
poration plant and a setting of smaller factories, were all proofs 
of the Chamber of Commerce's assertion that in a short time, 
perhaps twenty years or twenty centuries, Grand Republic 
would have a million inhabitants. 

But beyond the tracks, along the once navigable Sorshay 
River, the wooden warehouses and shaky tenements were so 
like the frontier village of seventy-five years ago that you im- 
agined the wooden sidewalks of the 1860's and the streets a 
churning of mud, with Chippewa squaws and Nova Scotia lum- 
bermen in crimson jackets and weekly murder with axe handles. 
Very untidy. 

Indeed Mrs. Kenny Wargate, Manhattan-born and cynical 
daughter-in-law of the Ruling Family, asserted that Grand Re- 
public had leaped from clumsy youth to senility without ever 
having a dignified manhood. She jeered, "Your Grand Republic 
slogan is: tar-paper shanty to vacant parking lot in three gen- 
erations." 

But Judge Timberlane and his friends, loving the place as 
home, believed that just now, after woes and failures and haste 
and waste and experiment, Grand Republic was beginning to 
build up a kind of city new to the world, a city for all the people, 
a city for decency and neighborliness, not for ecclesiastical dis- 
play and monarchial power and the chatter of tamed journalists 
and professors drinking coffee and eating newspapers in cafs. 
And if so many of the pioneers had been exploiters and slashers 
of the forest, the Wargates had been and now were builders of 
industries that meant homes and food for hundreds of immi- 
grant families from the fiords, from New England hills. 

Cass often pondered thus as he walked along Varennes Bou- 
levard. As he rounded a curve of the bluff-top, he could look 

10 



northward, and there, at the city's edge, was the true Northland, 
in the stretches of pine and birch and poplar that framed the 
grim eye of Dead Squaw Lake. And he loved it as he could 
never love the lax and steamy and foolishly laughing isles he 
had once seen in the Caribbean. 

Through all of his meditation ran his startled remembrance 
of Jinny Marshland on the witness stand. He was still indignant 
that in a city so small as Grand Republic he had never seen her. 

But he knew that, for all his talk at public dinners about Mid- 
western Democracy, the division between the proprietors and 
the serfs was as violent in Grand Republic as in London. The 
truckdriver might call Boone Havock, the contractor, "Boone," 
when they met in the Eitelf ritz Brauhaus ( as with remarkable 
frequency they did meet), but he would never enter Boone's 
house or his church, and as for Boone's asylum, the Federal 
Club, neither the truckdriver nor any Scandinavian or Finn 
with less than $10,000 income nor any recognizable Jew what- 
ever would be allowed even to gawk through the leaded-glass 
windows (imported). 

Even Lucius Fliegend, Jinny's Jewish employer, that fine and 
sensitive old man, could not belong to the Federal Club, but 
had to play his noontime chess in the Athletic Club. And as a 
professing member of Democracy, Cass was ashamed that not 
since he had been elected judge had he once been in the Athletic 
Club. 

He would remedy that right away. Tomorrow. 

He was abnormally conscious of the universal and multiple 
revolution just then, in the early 1940's, from sulfa drugs and 
surrealism and semantics to Hitler, but he was imtated by all 
the Voices, by the radio prophets and the newspaper-column 
philosophers. He had had two competent years in Washington 
as a Member of Congress. Sick of the arguments, he had refused 
to be re-elected, yet now that he was back in his native town, 
sometimes he missed the massacres in the Coliseum, and felt a 
little bored and futile. 

\ 

And ever since his divorce from the costly and clattering 
Blanche, he had been lonely. Could a Jinny Marshland 

13 



cure his loneliness, his confusions in the skyrocketing world? 

Then he rebuked himself. 

Why should a charming girl, probably a dancer to phono- 
graphs, have any desire to cure the lonelinesses of forty-year-old 
single gentlemen? There was tenderness and loyalty in Jinny, 
he felt, but what would she want with a judge whom she would 
find out not to be a judge at all but another gaunt and early- 
middle-aged man who played the flute? Thus he raged and 
longed as he neared his house. It is understood that the newer 
psychiatrists, like the older poets, believe that patients do fall 
in love at first sight. 

Cass's house was sometimes known as "Bergheim" and some- 
times as "the old Eisenherz place/' It had been built as a sum- 
mer residencein those days it had seemed to be quite out in the 
country by Simon Eisenherz, greatest of the Radisson County 
pioneers, in 1888, and purchased by Cass's father, Owen Tim- 
berlane, in 1929. Owen had died there, less than a year later, 
leaving it jointly to his wife, Marah, and to Cass, along with a 
local fortune of forty or fifty thousand dollars. 

The house was somber and somehow tragic, and when Cass's 
mother died there, also, and he took Blanche, his wife, to it, she 
had hated it as much as he himself loved it. As a boy he had con- 
sidered it the wonderful castle, the haunt of power and beauty, 
which no ordinary mortal like a Timberlane could ever hope to 
own complete. He still felt so. 

George Hame, his court reporter, said that Bergheim was a 
wooden model of the court house, and it did have a circular 
tower and an octagonal conservatory, now called the "sun 
room/' It was painted a dark green, merely because it had al- 
ways been painted dark green. Over the porches there were 
whole gardens of jig-saw blossoms, and two of the windows 
were circular, and one triangular, with ruby glass. Cass ad- 
mitted everything derisive that was said about this monstrosity, 
and went on loving it, and explaining that if you opened all of 
the windows all of the time, it wasn't airless inside not very 
not on a breezy day. 

As he came up the black-and-white marble walk to the 

14 



bulbous carriage-porch, a black kitten, an entire stranger, was 
sitting on a step. It said "meow," not whiningly but in a friendly 
mood, as between equals, and it looked at Cass in a way that 
dared him to invite it in for a drink. 

He was a lover of cats, and he had had none since the ancient 
and misanthropic Stephen had died, six months before. He had 
a lively desire to own this little black clown, all black, midnight 
black, except for its sooty yellow eyes. It would play on the 
faded carpets when he came home from the court room to the 
still loneliness that, in the old house, was getting on his nerves. 

"Well, how are you, my friend?" he said. 

The kitten said she was all right. And about some cream 
now ? 

"Kitten, I can't steal you from some child who's out looking 
for you. It wouldn't be right to invite you in." 

The kitten did not answer anything so naive and prudish. It 
merely said, with its liquid and trusting glance, that Cass was 
its god, beyond all gods. It frisked, and dabbled at a fly with 
its tiny black paw, and looked up at him to ask, "How's that?" 

"You are a natural suborner of perjury and extremely sweet," 
admitted Cass, as he scooped it up and took it through the 
huge oak door, down the dim hallway to the spacious kitchen 
and to Mrs. Higbee, his cook-general. 

Mrs. Higbee was sixty years old, and what is known as "col- 
ored," which meant that she was not quite so dark of visage 
as Webb Wargate after his annual Florida tanning. She was 
graceful and sensible and full of love and loyalty. She was in no 
ivay a comic servant; she was like any other wholesome Middle- 
Class American, with an accent like that of any other emigree 
from Ohio. It must be said that Mrs. Higbee was not singularly 
intelligent; only slightly more intelligent than Mrs. Boone 
Havock or Mrs. Webb Wargate; not more than twice as intel- 
ligent as Mrs. Vincent Osprey. She was an Episcopalian, and 
continued to be one, for historic reasons, though she was not 
greatly welcomed in the more fashionable temples of that faith. 
Judge Timberlane depended on her good sense rather more 
than he did on that of George Hame or his friend Christabel 
Grau. 

15 



Mrs. Higbee took the black kitten, tickled it under the chin, 
and remarked. "Our cat?" 

"I'm afraid so. I've stolen it." 

"Well, I understand a black cat is either very good luck or 
very bad luck, I forget which, so we can take a chance on it. 
What's its name?" 

"What is it? A her?" 

"Let's see. Um, I think so." 

"How about 'Cleo'? You knowfrom Cleopatra. The Egyp- 
tians worshiped cats, and Cleopatra was supposed to be thin 
and dark and uncanny, like our kitten." 

But he was not thinking of Queen Cleopatra. He was thinking 
of Jinny Marshland, and the thought was uneasy with him. 

"All right, Judge. You, Cleo, I'm going to get those fleas off 
you right away tomorrow, and no use your kicking." 

Cass marveled, "Has she got fleas?" 

"Has she got fleas 1 Judge, don't you ever take a real good 
look at females?" 

"Not often. Oh, Mrs. Higbee, you know I'm dining out to- 
night-at Dr. Drover's." 

"Yes. You'll get guinea hen. And that caramel ice cream. And 
Miss Grau. You won't be home early." 

"Anything else I ought to know about the party?" 

"Not a thing. . . . Will you look at that Cleo! She knows 
where the refrigerator is, already!" 



In Cass's set, which was largely above the $7000 line, it was 
as obligatory to dress for party dinners as in London, and any- 
way, he rather liked his solid tallness in black and white. He 
dawdled in his bedroom, not too moonily thinking of Jinny yet 
conscious of her. A bright girl like that would do things with 
this room which, he admitted, habit and indifference and too 
much inheritance of furniture had turned into a funeral vault. 
It was a long room with meager windows and a fireplace 
bricked-up years ago. 

The wide bed was of ponderous black walnut, carved with 
cherubs that looked like grapes and grapes that looked like 
cherubs, and on it was a spread of yellowed linen. The dresser 

16 



was ot black walnut also, witn a mortuary marble slab; the 
wardrobe .was like three mummy-cases on end, though not so 
gay; and littered over everything were books on law and eco- 
nomics and Minnesota history. 

It is a gloomy room. No wonder Blanche insisted on sleep- 
ing in the pink room." 

He heard a friendly, entirely conversational "Meow?" and 
saw that the gallant Cleo had come upstairs to explore. All cats 
have to know about every corner of any house they choose to 
honor, but sometimes they are timid about caves under furni- 
ture. There have, indeed, been complaining and tiresome cats. 
But Cleo talked to him approvingly about her new home. 

For so young and feminine a feline, she was a complete Henry 
M. Stanley. She looked at the old bedspread and patted its 
fringe. She circulated around under the old Chinese teakwood 
chair, in which no one had ever sat and which no one even 
partly sae would ever have bought. She glanced into the 
wardrobe, and cuffed a shoelace which tried to trip her. 

She said, "All right fine" to Cass, and went on to the other 
rooms. 

In that stilly house he continued to hear her jaunty cat-slang 
till she had gone into the gray room, the last and largest of the 
six master's-bedrooms. Then he jumped, at a long and terrified 
moan. He hurried across the hall. Cleo was crouched, staring 
at the bed upon which had died his mother, that silent and bit- 
ter woman christened Marah Nord. 

The tiny animal shivered and whimpered till he compas- 
sionately snatched it up and cuddled it at his neck. It shivered 
once more and, as he took it back to his own den, it began 
timidly to purr, in a language older than the Egyptian. 

"Too many ghosts in this house, Cleo. You must drive them 
out you and she. I have lived too long among shadows." 



17 



BOUND FOR DR. DROVER'S and the presumable delights of dinner, 
he walked down Varennes Boulevard, past the houses of the 
very great: the red-roofed Touraine chateau of Webb Wargate, 
the white-pillared brick Georgian mansion (with a terrace, and 
box-trees in wine jars ) of the fabulous contractor, Boone Hav- 
ock, and the dark granite donjon and the bright white Colonial 
cottage (oversize) in which dwelt and mutually hated each 
other the rival bankers Norton Trock and John William Prutt. 

On his judge's salary, without the inheritance from his father, 
Cass could never have lived in this quarter. It was the Best 
Section; it was Mayfair, where only Episcopalians, Presby- 
terians, Congregationalists, and the more Gothic Methodists- 
all Republicans and all golf -players lived on a golden isle amid 
the leaden surges of democracy. f 

He turned left on Schoolcraft Way, into a neighborhood not 
so seraphic yet still soundly apostolic and Republican, and came 
to the square yellow-brick residence of his friend, Dr. Roy 
Drover. Roy said, and quite often, that his place might not be 
so fancy as some he knew, but it was the only completely air- 
conditioned house in town, and it had, in the Etruscan cata- 
combs of its basement, the most powerful oil furnace and the 
best game-room, or rumpus room with a red-and-silver bar, a 
billiard table, a dance-floor, and a rifle-rangein all of Grand 
Republic, which is to say in all of the Western Hemisphere. 

With the possible exception of Bradd Criley the lawyer, Dr. 
Drover was Cass's closest friend. 

Roy was two years older than Cass, who was two years oldet- 
than Bradd, and it is true that in boyhood, four years make a 
generation, yet from babyhood to college days, Cass and Roy 
and Bradd had formed an inseparable and insolently exclusive 
gang, to the terror of all small animals within hiking distance of 
Grand Republic. They did such pleasurable killing together; 
killing frogs, killing innocent and terrified snakes, killing 
gophers, and later, when they reached the maturity of shot- 
guns, killing ducks and snipe and rabbits. Like Indians they 

18 



had roamed this old Chippewa Indian land, familiars of swamp 
and crick (not creek), cousins to the mink and mushrat (not 
muskrat), heroes of swimming hole and ice-skating and of bob- 
sledding down the long, dangerous Ottawa Heights. And once, 
finding a midden filled with stone slivers, they had been very 
near to their closest kin, the unknown Indians of ten thousand 
years ago, who came here for stone weapons when the last 
glacier was retreating. 

Growing older, they had shown variations of civilization and 
maturity. Bradd Criley had become a fancy fellow* wavy-haired 
and slick about his neckties, a dancing man and a seducer of 
girls, adding industry to his natural talents for the destruc- 
tion of women. Cass Timberlane had gone bookish and some- 
what moral. Only Roy Drover, graduating from medical school 
and becoming a neat surgeon, a shrewd diagnostician, a skillful 
investor of money and, before forty, a rich man, had remained 
entirely unchanged, a savage and a small boy. 

He preferred surgery, but in a city as small as Grand Repub- 
lic, he could not specialize entirely, and he kept up his practice 
as a physician. 

At forty-three, Dr. Drover looked fifty. He was a large man, 
tall as Cass Timberlane and much thicker, with a frontier mus- 
tache, a long black 1870-cavalryman mustache, a tremendous 
evangelical voice, and a wide but wrinkled face. 

In a way, he was not a doctor at all. He cared nothing for 
people except as he could impress them with his large house, 
his log fishing-lodge, named "Roy's Rest/' in the Arrowhead 
Lake Region, and his piratical airplane trips to Florida, where 
he noisily played roulette and, taking no particular pains to 
conceal it from his wife, made love to manicure girls posing as 
movie actresses and completely fooling the contemptuously 
shrewd Dr. Drover. 

When Roy was drunk that did not happen often, and never 
on a night before he was to operate he got into fights with 
doormen and taxi-drivers, and always won them, and always 
got forgiven by the attendant policeman, who recognized him 
as one of their own hearty sort, as a medical policeman. 

He played poker, very often and rather late, and he usually 

19 



won. He read nothing except the Journal of the American 
Medical Association, the newspapers, and his ledger. Because 
he liked to have humble customers call him "Doc/* he believed 
that he was a great democrat, but he hated all Jews, Poles, Finns, 
and people from the Balkans, and he always referred to Negroes 
as "darkies" or "smokes/* 

He said loudly, "Speaking as a doctor, I must tell you that it 
is a scientifically proven fact that all darkies, without excep- 
tion, are mentally just children, and when you hear of a smart 
one, he's just quoting from some renegade white man. Down 
South, at Orlando, I got to talking to some- black caddies, and 
they said, *Yessir, Mr. White Man, you're dead right. We don't 
want to go No'th. Up there, they put you to work!' All the 
darkies are lazy and dumb, but that's all right with me. They'll 
never have a better friend than I am, and they all know it, be- 
cause they can see I understand 'em!" 

Roy's most disgusted surprise had been in meeting a New 
York internist who told him that in that Sidon there was an 
orchestra made up of doctors, who put their spare time in on 
Mozart instead of duck-hunting. 

From land investments, which he made in co-operation with 
Norton Trock, Roy had enough capital to make sure that his two 
sons would not have to be driven and martyred doctors, like 
him, but could become gentlemanly brokers. 

Roy and Jiis pallid wife, Lillian, were considered, in Grand 
Republic, prime examples of the Happy Couple. 

She hated him, and dreaded his hearty but brief embraces, 
and prayed that he would not turn the two boys, William Mayo 
Drover and John Erdmann Drover, into his sort of people, 
Sound, Sensible, Successful Citizens with No Nonsense about 
Them. 

Cass Timberlane knew, in moments of mystic enlightenment, 
that whether or not Roy Drover was his best friend, there was 
no question but that Roy was his most active enemy. 

He had for years mocked Cass's constant reading, his legal 
scruples, his failure to make slick investments, and his shocking 
habit of listening to Farmer-Laborites. After Cass had become 

20 



a judge, Roy grumbled, "I certainly wish I could make my 
money as easy as that guy does sitting up there on his behind 
and letting the other fellows do the work." Tonight, Cass sighed 
that Roy would certainly ridicule Jinny Marshland, if he ever 
met that young woman. 

But Roy had been his intimate since before he could remem- 
ber. There had never been any special reason for breaking with 
him and, like son with father, like ex-pupil with ex-teacher, 
Cass had an uneasy awe of his senior and a longingentirely 
futile to make an impression on him. Cass's pride in being 
elected to Congress and the bench was less than in being a better 
duck-shot than Roy. 

There were present, for dinner and two tables of bridge, the 
Drovers, Cass, Christabel Grau, the Boone Havocks, and the 
Don Pennlosses. 

Chris Grau was the orphaned daughter of a wagon-manufac- 
turer. She was much younger than the others, and she was in- 
vited as an extra-woman partner for Cass. She was a plump and 
rather sweet spinster of thirty-two who, until the recent taking 
off, had suffered from too much affectionate mother. She not 
only believed that in the natural course of events Cass would 
fall in love with her and marry her, but also that there is any 
natural course of events. Rose Pennloss, wife of the rather dull 
and quite pleasant Donald, the grain-dealer, was Cass's sister, 
but Cass and she liked each other and let each other alone. 

It was Boone Havock and his immense and parrot-squawking 
wife Queenie who were the great people, the belted earl and 
terraced countess, of the occasion; they were somewhat more 
energetic and vastly more wealthy than Dr. Drever, and it was 
said that Boone was one of the sixteen most important men in 
Minnesota. 

He had started as a lumberjack and saloon-bouncer and miner 
and prizefighter indeed, he had never left off, and his success 
in railroad-contracting, bridge-building, and factory-construc- 
tion was due less to his knowledge of how to handle steel than 
to his knowledge of how to battle with steel-workers. But he 
owned much of the stock in the genteel Blue Ox National Bank, 

21 



and he was received with flutters in the gray-velvet and stilly 
office of the bank-president, Norton Trock. 

Queenie Havock had the brassiest voice and the most pre- 
dictable anti-labor prejudices in Grand Republic; her hair 
looked like brass, and her nose looked somewhat like brass, 
and she was such a brass-hearted, cantankerous, vain, grasping, 
outrageous old brazen harridan that people describing her 
simply had to add, "But Queenie does have such a sense of 
humor and such a kind heart." 

It was true. She had the odd and interesting sense of humor 
of a grizzly bear. 

For a town which was shocked by the orgies of New York and 
Hollywood, there was a good deal of drinking in Grand Re- 
public. All of them, except Chris Grau and Roy Drover, had 
three cocktails before dinner. Roy had four. 

Throughout dinner, and during vacations from the toil of 
bridge, the standard conversation of their class and era was 
earned on. If Cass and his sister, Rose, did not chime in, they 
were too accustomed to the liturgy to be annoyed by it. 

This was the credo, and four years later, the war would make 
small difference in its articles: 

Maids and laundresses are now entirely unavailable; nobody 
at all has any servants whatsoever; and those who do have, 
pay too much and get nothing but impertinence. 

Strikes must be stopped by law, but the Government must 
never in any way interfere with industry. 

All labor leaders are crooks. The rank and file.are all virtuous, 
but misled by these leaders. 

The rank and file are also crooks. 

Children are now undisciplined and never go to bed till all- 
hours, but when we were children, we went to bed earjy and 
cheerfully. 

All public schools are atrocious, but it is not true that the 
teachers are underpaid, and, certainly, taxes must be kept down. 

Taxes, indeed, are already so oppressive that not one of the 
persons here present knows where his next meal or even his 

22 



next motor car will come from, and these taxes are a penalty 
upon the industrious and enterprising, imposed by a branch of 
the Black Hand called "Bureaucracy." 

America will not get into this war between Hitler and Great 
Britain, which will be over by June, 1942. 

But we are certainly against Fascism because why? because 
Fascism just means Government Control, and we're against 
Government Control in Germany or in the United States! When 
our Government quits interfering and gives Industry the green 
light to go ahead, then we ? ll show.the world what the American 
System of Free Enterprise can do to provide universal pros- 
perity. 

Boone Havock can still, at sixty, lick any seven Squareheads 
in his construction gangs; he carries on his enterprises not for 
profit for years and years that has been entirely consumed 
by these taxes but solely out of a desire to give work to the 
common people. He once provided a fine running shower-bath 
for a gang in Kittson County, but none of the men ever used 
it, and though he himself started with a shovel, times have 
changed since then, and all selfless love for the job has de- 
parted. 

Dr. Drover also carries on solely out of patriotism. 

The wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a woman who 
has so betrayed her own class that she believes that miners and 
Negroes and women are American citizens, ought to be com- 
pelled by law to stay home. 

We rarely go to the movies, but we did just happen to see 
a pretty cute film about gang-murder. 

The Reverend Dr. Quentin Yarrow, pastor .of St. Anselm's 
P.E., is a fine man, very broad-minded and well-read, and just 
as ready to take a drink or shoot a game of golf as any regular 
guy. 

Jay Laverick, of the flour mills, is a fine man, a regular guy, 
always ready to shoot a game of golf or take a drink, but he 
has been hitting up the hard stuff pretty heavy since his little 
wife passed away, and he ought to remarry. 

Cass should certainly remarry, and we suspect that it is Chris 

23 



Grau, also present, whom Cass has chosen and already kissed 
at least. 

You can't change human nature. 

We don't fall for any of these 'isms. 

While we appreciate wealth it shows that a man has ability 
maybe Berthold Eisenherz, with his brewery and half the 
properties on the Blue Ox Range that are still producing iron 
ore, and this damn showy picture of his by some Frenchman 
named Renoir, is too wealthy. He never shoots golf or shoots 
ducks, which looks pretty queer for a man rich as that. What 
the devil does he do with himself? 

Some of these smart-aleck critics claim that Middlewestern 
businessmen haven't changed much since that book what's its 
name? by this Communist writer, Upton Sinclair "Babbitt," 
is it? not changed much since that bellyache appeared, some 
twenty years ago. Well, we'd like to tell those fellows that in 
these twenty-odd years, the American businessman has changed 
completely. He has traveled to Costa Rica and Cuba and Guate- 
mala, as well as Paris, and in the Readers Digest he has learned 
all about psychology and modern education. He's been to a 
symphony concert, and by listening to the commentators on 
the radio, he has now become intimate with every branch of 
Foreign Affairs. 

"As an ex-Congressman, don't you think that's true?" de- 
manded Don Pennloss. 

"Why, I guess it is," said Cass. 

He had tried to bring into the conversation the name of 
Jinny Marshland, but he had found no links between her and 
taxes or Costa Rica. Now he blurted, "Say, I had a pleasant 
experience in court today." 

Roy Drover scoffed, "You mean you're still working there? 
The State still paying you good money for just yelling 'Over- 
ruled!' every time a lawyer belches?" 

"They seem to be. Well, we had a pretty dull sidewalk case, 
but one witness was an unusually charming girl " 

"We know. You took her into your chambers and conferred 
with her!" bellowed Boone Havock. 

24 



"He did not. He's no fat wolf like you, you lumberjack!* 
screamed Queenie. 

"Good gracious, I didn't know it was so late. Quarter past 
eleven. Can I give you a lift, Cass?" said Chris Grau. 



"Fix DROP YOU at your house, and if you ask me very prettily, 
111 come in for a night-cap," said Chris, outside the Drovers'. 

"No, I'll tell you: 111 drive you home in your car, and then 
walk back to my house." 

"Walk? Back? At this time of night? Why, it's almost two 
miles!" 

"People have walked two miles." 

"Not unless they were playing golf." 

"All right, I'll borrow a cane from Roy and a condensed- 
milk can and knock it all the way back." 

"Gassy, you are the most contrary man living!" 

He hated being called "Gassy," like a slave in Harriet Beecher 
Stowe, and he did not want Chris at his house. For the hour or 
two before he went to bed, late as usual, he wanted to be alone. 
He had to look after the welfare of his new friend, Cleo. He 
wanted to think, at least to think of what it was that he wanted 
to think about. And, like most men who sometimes complain 
of being lonely, he just liked to be alone. 

Chris did not go on teasing him. He had to admit that, fussei 
and arranger and thwarted mother though she was, Chris liked 
to do whatever her men wanted. 

At thirty-two, Christabel Grau was a round and soft and 
taffy-colored virgin with strands of gray. If Jinny Marshland 
was like Cleo, a thin and restless and exciting young cat, Chris 
was the serene tabby cuddled and humming on the hearth. 

As they drove to her home, she speculated, with an unusual 
irritation, "Didn't you think they were dull tonight?" 

"I thought they talked about as usual." 

"No, you didn't. For some reason, you were sizing them up 

25 



tonight, and that started me noticing that Oh, they're all 
darlings, and so smartmy, I bet there isn't a doctor at the 
Mayos' that's as clever as Roy but they always make the same 
jokes, and they're so afraid of seeming sentimental. Roy wouldn't 
ever admit how he loves his collection of Florida shells, and of 
course Boone is as moony as a girl about his Beethoven records, 
and Queenie says he'll sit by himself for hours listening to 'em, 
even the hard quartets, and he's read all the lives of the com- 
posers, but he pretends he just has the records to show oft. We're 
all so scared of getting out of the groove here, don't you think?" 

"Yes yes," said Cass, who hadn't heard a word. 

"But I do love Grand Republic so." 

"Yes." 



Chrir lived on the top floor of her ancestral mansion on 
Beltrami Avenue South, in the old part of town, in the valley. 
And on that street Cass had been born. Forty years ago it had 
been the citadel of the select residential district, where dwelt 
all that was rich and seemly. Cass's present home, Bergheim, 
was aged, but the other houses on Ottawa Heights had been 
built since 1900. These new mansions did well in the matter 
of Mount Vernon pillars and lumpy French-farmhouse towers, 
but they were plain as warehouses compared with the Beltrami 
Avenue relics, which had an average of twenty-two wooden 
gargoyles apiece, and ojie of which exhibited not only a three- 
story tower but had a Tudor chimney running through it. 

Many of these shrines had been torn down to save taxes, and 
others turned into a home for nuns, a home for pious Lutheran 
old ladies, a business college, a Y.W.C.A. In seventy years, the 
Belgravia of Grand Republic had been built and become an 
historic ruin, and men whose own frail tissues had already 
lasted more than eighty years, looking upon a granite castle 
now become a school for the anxious daughters of improbable 
gentry, whispered in awe, "Why, that house is old as die hills 
almost seventy-five years old!" 

But Chris Grau, after her mother's death, had thriftily re- 
modeled their three-story-and-basement residence into seven 
apartments, keeping the top floor for herself and renting the 

26 



rest. "Chris is an A 1 business-woman," said Roy Drover, and 
Roy would know. 

Cass was "just coming in for a second, for one drink/' but he 
felt relaxed, he felt at home, and wanted to linger in that room, 
feminine yet firm, lilac-scented, with soft yellow walls and 
chairs in blue linen, with many flowers and a Dutch-tile fire- 
place and all the newest new books about psychology and Yugo- 
slavian prime*5jninisters, many of which Chris had started to 
read. ** 

She mixed a highball for him, without talking about it. She 
had excellent Bourbon she was a good and intelligent woman. 
She sat on thet arm of his chair, a chair that was just deep 
enough for him; she smoothed his hair, without ruffling it, she 
kissed his temple, without being moist, and she slipped away 
and sat casifcfcUy in her own chair before he had time to think 
about whether he had any interest in caresses tonight. 

"Yes, we were all awfully obvious, tonight," she meditated. 
'Why didn't you bawl us out?" 

"I'm not an uplifter, Chris. People are what they are. You 
learn that in law-practice. I haven't the impertinence to tell 
old friends how I think they ought to talk." 

"You pretend to be nothing but scholarship and exactness, 
but you're really all affection for the people you know." 

"You'll be saying I'm a sentimentalist next, Chris." 

"Well, aren't you? You even love cats." 

"Hate em!" 

Why did I lie like that? 

"Cassy, I Oh, I'm sorry, Cass\" 

She even sees when I'm offended, without my having to 

rub her nose in it. I could be very solid and comfortable if I 
married her. She'd give warmth to that chilly old house. We 
belong together; we're both Old Middlewest, informal but not 
rackety. Let's see: Chris must be nine years younger than I 
am, and 

SJie was talking on: "Speaking of uplift, I'll never give up 
hoping that some day you'll be a United States Senator or on 
the Supreme Court Bench. There isn't a man in the United 
States who has more to give the public." 

27 



"No, no, Chris, that's sheer illusion. I'm simply a backwoods 
kwyer. You know, any legal gent looks considerably larger and 
brighter, up there on the bench." 

"I won't have you " 

"Besides, I feel lost in Washington. One brown rabbit doesn't 
mean much in that menagerie of cassowaries/' 

"What is a cassowary?" 

"Eh? Damned if I know. I think it's a bird." 

Til look it up, right now." 

"Not now. I really want to talk to you." 

"Well, it's about time!" 

They smiled, secretly and warmly. She seemed to him as 
intimate and trusty as his own self when she went on: 

"Maybe it was because Blanche was so ambitious that you 
disliked Washington. An impossible wife for you!" 

"I didn't dislike the placepeople walking under the trees 
in the evening, like a village. It's just that I have some kind 
of an unformulated idea that I want to be identified with 
Grand Republic help in setting up a few stones in what may be 
a new Athens. It's this northern country you know, stark and 
clean and the brilliant lakes and the tremendous prairies to 
the westward it may be a new kind of land for a new kind of 
people, and it's scarcely even started yet." 

"Oh, I know!" 

She loves this place, too. She has roots, where Blanche 

has nothing but aerial feelers. Hm. She's thirty-two. She could 
still have half a dozen children. I'd like children around me, 
and not just Mrs. Higbee and Cleo and a radio and a chess- 
board. 

Chris came, not too impulsively, to kneel before him and 
clasp both his hands, as she said trustingly: 

"Of course you know best. The only reason why I'd like to see 
you in the Senate is that Grand Republic would be so .proud 
of you!" Her eyes were all his, her voice was gentle, and her 
lips were not far from his. "Though maybe that's silly, Cass, 
because I guess the town couldn't be any prouder of you than it 
is already no prouder than I am, right now!" 

There was a scent of apple-blossoms about her. He leaned 

28 



forward. Without moving, she seemed to be giving herself to 
him. Her hand was at her soft bosom and her lips lifted. 

Then, from far off, he heard the wailing of a frightened 
kitten, gallant but hard-pressed. 

Without willing it, he was on his feet, blurting good night, 
hastening home to the small black absurdity of Cleo. 



His PANIC was gone before he had stepped like a soldier eight 
blocks in that nipping northern air and begun to mount the 
Heights. The streets were friendly with the fresh-leaved elms 
and maples for which Grand Republic was notable; the cherries 
were in blossom, and the white lilacs and mountain ash. 

There were dark groves along the way, and alleys that rose 
sharply and vanished around curves, there were gates in brick 
walls and hedges; a quality by night which was odd and excit- 
ing to Cass Timberlane, a life to be guessed at, not too plain. 
This was no prairie town, flat and rectangular, with every virtue 
and crusted sin exposed. 

As he climbed, he could see the belated lights of farm- 
houses on the uplands across the valley, the lights of buses 
down on Chippewa Avenue, and in simplicity he loved his city 
now instead of fretting that its typical evening conversation 
was dull as dull as that of Congressmen in the cloakroom or 
newspaper correspondents over the poker table. But he fretted 
over himself and his perilous single state, with nervousness 
about the fact that Chris Grau was likely at any time to pick 
him up and marry him. 

No, I'll never marry again. Yd never be a good husband. 

I'm too solemn maybe too stuffy. I'm too devoted to the law. 

Ami? 

I must get married. I can t carry on alone. Life is too 

meaningless when you have no one for whom you want to buy 
gifts, or steal them. 

If I did marry, I think that this time I could make a go 

of it. I understand women a little better now. I shouldn't have 

29 



minded Blanche's love of tinsel, but just laughed at her. And 
Chris thinks of other people. With her, I'd be happier and hap- 
pier as the years went by 

Lord, that sounds so aged! It was her youth that I liked 

so much in that girl on the witness-stand yesterday or today, 
was it? What was her name again Virginia something? . . . 
Curious. I can't see her any more! 

In law-school, at the University of Minnesota, Cass had 
listened to a lecture by that great advocate, Hugo Lebanon of 
Minneapolis, had gone up glowingly to talk with him, and had 
been invited to dinner at the Lebanon marble palace on Lake 
of the Isles. There was a tall, pale, beautiful daughter named 
Blanche. 

So Cass married the daughter. 

She was emphatic about being a pure Anglo-Saxon who went 
right back, even if Warwickshire remained curiously unstirred 
about her going right back, to a gray stone house in Warwick. 
She was the more vigorously pure about it because there were 
whispers of Jewish blood. She found it hard to put up with the 
mongrel blood of the furniture-dealing Timberlanes, and she 
was revolted when Cass estimated that through his father, he 
was three-eighths British stock, one-sixteenth French Canadian, 
and one-sixteenth Sioux Indian whence, he fondly believed, 
came his tall, high-cheeked spareness and through his mother 
he was two-eighths Swedish, one-eighth German, one-eighth 
Norwegian. 

Blanche did not, after the magnitude and salons of Min- 
neapolis, much like Grand Republic. When she came there as 
a bride, in 1928, the Renoir had not yet arrived, so there was 
no one to talk to. 

She encouraged Cass to run for Congress; she served rye, 
with her own suave hands, to aldermen and county commis- 
sioners. Cass and she attained Washington, and she loved it like 
a drunkard, and loved the chance of meeting at least of being 
in the same populous rooms with French diplomats and Mas- 
sachusetts senators and assorted Roosevelts. When Cass felt 
swamped, as a lone representative among more than four hun- 

30 



dred, when he longed for the duck pass and his law-office and 
the roaring of Roy Drover, when he refused to run for re- 
election, Blanche rebelled. She was not going back to listen to 
Queenie Havock shrieking about her love-life, she shouted, and 
Cass could not blame her, though he did sigh that there were 
also other sounds audible in Grand Republic. 

There was a mild, genial Englishman, Fox Boneyard, an im- 
porter of textiles, who lived in New York but was often about 
Washington; he had the unfortunate illusions about beautiful 
American women that Englishmen sometimes do have, and he 
also had more money than the Honorable Cass Timberlane. 

Blanche married him. 

During the divorce, Cass did have sense enough to refuse to 
pay alimony to a woman who was marrying a richer rran, and 
who had never consented to having children. But he still loved 
Blanche enough to hate her, and to hate convulsively the sight 
of a coat she had left behind, and the wrinkles in it that 
had come from her strong shoulders. He underwent the familiar 
leap from partisanship and love to enmity and a sick feeling 
that he had been betrayed. 

He grimly finished his last days in Congress, and then quite 
dramatically went to pieces. He was a feeling man, and with 
a whisky breath and unshaved, he was an interesting figure in 
water-front cafes in Trinidad and Cartagena, and to his white 
cruel love he paid the tribute of being sick in toilets and talking 
to other saintly idiots about having lost his soul. 

But even love for Blanche could not keep Cass Timberlane 
at this romantic business for more than two months, and aftei 
another six, most of them sedately spent in and about the 
Temple in London, he returned to the affection of Grand Re- 
public, and practised law for three more years before he was 
elected to the bench. 

Election was not easy. The routine politicians disliked him 
because he had left Congress, because he could not be guided 
and because he made fun of all clauses in political speeches be- 
ginning with "than whom." The churches, particularly the 
Lutherans, who were powerful in Radisson County, disap- 
proved of him because he had been divorced. The Republicans 

31 



were doubtful about him because he had been amiable with 
Farmer-Labor leaders, and the Farmer-Laborites distrusted 
him because he lived in a large house. In fact, there was really 
no reason for his being elected except that he was known to be 
honest, courageous, and learned, and that he had once lent a 
grateful and active Norwegian farmer five dollars. 

But he was a judge now, and the district had the fixed habit 
of him, and if he would only marry a sound churchwoman, like 
Christabel Grau, and give a little more attention to the Chamber 
of Commerce and to his bridge game, he might go on forever, a 
sound .and contented Leading Citizen. 



6 



HE WAS THINKING of Chris Grau as he entered the long hallway 
of Bergheim, lit only by a bogus-ancient pierced-brass lamp. 
Then Cleo, the midnight-colored kitten, was galloping up to 
him, warming his ankles, purring frantically, and with that 
ecstatic rhythm there came back to him Jinny Marshland's name 
and the vision of her face that he had lost: the surprising small- 
ness of her face, the absurd hawk nose, the jaunty hair hanging 
to her shoulders, the bright curiosity in her eyes, her plunging 
youthful walk. 

He lifted Cleo and thought how light Jinny would be to lift. 
Cleo sat in his lap while he worked out a chess-problem for 
nightcap; she moaned only a little when he played the flute 
for a moment; and when he put her back into the box filled with 
clipped paper that Mrs. Higbee had provided behind the 
kitchen stove, Cleo made a business of curling round and sleep- 
ing, as a cat who belonged there and liked it. 

"A very sound kitten," Cass pronounced, and went com- 
fortably up to bed, pleasant in the thought that tomorrow the 
kitten would be here, that some time this week he could most 
certainly see Jinny. 

He awoke rigid under the familiar torture which some dozen 
times a year the mysterious Enemy inflicted upon him: the 

32 



torture of being bored by the too-frequent presence of his 
'own self, bored to cold emptiness by the inescapable and un- 
changing sight and sound of Cass Timberlane, a man whom he 
usually respected, sometimes found slightly funny, but of whose 
complaints and futile plans, round and round in the mind, of 
whose demands for incessant attention, of whose mirrored 
gawky face, of whose heavy voice, a murky cloud forever in 
the air about him, he was sick to a state of fury. Could he never 
get away from that man? Was he condemned forever to awaken 
to the sight of that thick brown plowman's-hand on the blanket, 
to the intrusiveness of that man's inevitable whining daydream: 
"I will find my companion; I'll go on a journey somewhere 
and I'll find her; I'll tell her about Grand Republic and shell 
want to come here, and well have a real family, with trust 
and serenity, and I'll be a judge that people will say, 'His 
court is the model of fairness and mercy/ and she will be glad 
of it; she " 

Oh, so that intrusive man was going lo fall in love now, was he, 
with his "Look at me! How exciting I am!" If he could only 
forget the name and essence of Cass Timberlane and be bliss- 
fully submerged, not in some rainbow-striped Oversoul but in 
the tenderness of one other person. 

Then he was sick of being sick of too-much-self, and with the 
bright thought of Jinny he drove out his tired brooding upon 
his brooding. 

She actually did exist. He had seen her. In her was tolerant 
friendship, and in her fresh cheeks and young bosom there 
was promise of salvation by passion. With her he could escape 
into the refuge of the Quiet Mind, away equally from the lonely 
Cass and from a world of booming politics and oratory. 

Was Jinny too young for him? Nonsense! He was only forty- 
one, and stronger than any of these jazz-mad youngsters. And 
she would make him still younger, along with her. 

He went to sleep in dreams of a Jinny to whom, actually, 
he had never said anything whatever except, "I think you'd 
better confine yourself to answering the questions, without com- 
ment, Miss Marshland/' 

33 



There was nothing of the repining hermit in the Cass who 
leaped up in the morning, greeted Cleo, who considered his 
toes very funny, had a shower-bath and a scrupulous shave 
(telling himself, as always, that the electric razor was a very 
fine Modern Invention), greeted Mrs. Higbee, wolfed griddle 
cakes and sausages, and tramped out upon the fresh May morn- 
ing and the courts of law. 

George Hame, his court-reporter, greeted him filially, though 
George was only three years younger, and filled his inkwell 
and his water carafe and opened his mail. 

The mail was of the usual: sixteen widows who had been 
cheated, of whom seven sounded as though they ought to have 
been; and sixteen organizations which desired the Judge to 
send in a little contribution. 

The other two judges of the district came in cordially: Judge 
Stephen Douglas Blackstaff, the Old Roman, and Judge Conrad 
Flaaten, who was Lutheran but gay. Judge Blackstaff wanted a 
cigarette and Judge Flaaten wanted advice, and between them 
and the mail and George Hame's admiration, Cass felt like his 
own man again, resolute and happy in his workshop. 

When he marched out into the court room and the bailiff 
pounded his table and the nine persons present, besides the 
jury and the officers of court, all made motions somewhat like 
rising in his honor, then all the dread of too-much-self had 
gone out of Cass, along with much of his excitement about 
a stray young woman named Marshland, and he was again 
the tribal chieftain on his leather throne. 

The case of Miss Tilda Hatter vs. the City of Grand Republic 
was concluded, and her many friends will be pleased to know 
that the jury was out for only sixteen minutes and awarded her 
$200 out of the $500 for which she had sued. Judge Timberlane 
reflected that Miss Hatter was almost certain to put on a spread 
for Jinny and her other boarders, with Bourbon, Coca-Cola, 
liverwurst, stuffed olives, and chocolate layer cake. 

He went for lunch not to the proper Federal Club, where 
bankers and lawyers and grain-dealers sat around being high- 
class, but to the Athletic Club, which admitted Jews and 

34 



Unitarians. He hoped to see Lucius Fliegend, the pasteboard- 
toy manufacturer, Jinny's boss. 

On his way he went along Chippewa Avenue and saw the 
humble magnificence of the town's business center: the up- 
rearing limestone and aluminum of the Blue Ox National Bank, 
the bookshop that with a building of imitation half -timber tried 
to suggest the romance and antiquity of England, the one 
complete department store, Tarr's Emporium, with four vast 
floors crammed with treasures from Burma and Minneapolis, 
and the Bozard Beaux Arts Women's Specialty Shops, which 
everyone said was just as smart as New York or Halle Brothers 
of Cleveland. 

Among the bustling citizens who looked like everybody else 
on every principal avenue from Bangor to Sacramento, there 
were trout-fishermen in high boots and Finnish section-hands 
and Swedish corn-planters from the prairie. 

Grand Republic was metropolitan-looking in its black-glass 
and green-marble shop fronts, its uniformed traffic policemen 
with Sam Browne belts and pistol holsters, its florists' windows 
and La Marquise French Candy Shop, but it was small enough 
so that he was greetedusually as "Judge," often as "Cass," 
occasionally as "Jedge" five times on every block, while the 
policemen touched their caps in salute. Grand Republic was 
small enough so that a Mrs. George Hame had at least met a 
Mrs. Webb Wargate, and ventured to say, in church lobby, 
**Well, how is your boy Jamie doing in school, Mrs. Wargate?" 
It was small enough so that the Judge could know how the 
whole city worked, but it was also small enough so that Harley 
Bozard, coming out of his shop, already knew that Cass had 
taken Chris Grau home last evening, and leered, "What's this 
I hear you're going to drive into the matrimonial slew again, 
Cassr 

It was all friendly; it restored his soul. He was too used to 
them to note the hideousness of a black old stone hotel with 
massive portals and torn lace curtains, and the car-parking 
lots that were like sores on the wholesome limbs of the streets, 
or to reflect that the only design for planning the city had always 
been the dollar-sign. What of that, when he could, be greeted 

35 



"H* are you, old boy I" by Frank Brightwing, thexeal-estate man, 
who was melodiously drunk on every Saturday evening and on 
every Sunday morning, at the Baptist Church, was as unaf- 
fectedly pious and hopeful as the cherubs he so much re- 
sembled. 

The moment Cass was inside the railroad-station noisiness of 
the Athletic Club, he hunted up Lucius Fliegend, a gentle 
person with a thin beard, who might have been a professor of 
Greek. 

He confessed, "Lucius, I'm ashamed that I haven't been 
around here lately, looking for a game of chess/' 

"You young fellows, you politicians, don't appreciate chess. 
In the good old days here, the lumbermen and the gamblers 
in iron-leases used to go out and steal a million dollars and 
come home and drink a quart of red-eye and sit down to six 
hours of chess. Now, they steal only a thousand, and then play 
bridge and drink gin, a lady's drink. Will you choose your 
pawn?" 

After the game (which Lucius won), Cass spoke abruptly, 
for this was an honest and understanding man. "Yesterday in 
court I saw a young lady who says she works for you. Miss 
Marshland. I'd like to really meet her." 

"Jinny is a lovely girl. Erica and I are fond of her. She is 
ambitious, but not in the sharp, bitter way of so many of these 
young career women. She's quite a good draftsman. She has a 
nice fantastic taste she does some very funny pasteboard dolls 
for me. And she's beautiful, but she's also a frail, over-engined 
girl who will either burn herself out or fall in love with some 
appealing scamp who'll break her heart, unless some solid 
man traps her first." 

"But would she like a solid man?" 

"I doubt it. And, though he'd find it interesting, I don't know 
how much he'd enjoy nursing a young black panther." ' 

"She's probably already engaged." 

"I don't think so; merely has a lot of young men friends. 
But with all her fire, she's domestic. Her father is a druggist 
up here in Pioneer Falls, a pleasant fellow. He taught Jinny 

36 



her Latin at the age of ten. Of course she forgot it at the age of 
twelve. She's a good girl and " 

"When will you invite us to dinner together?*' 

"Some time soon/' 

"No! Much sooner than that!" 

"Very well. Next Saturday evening, provided Jinny isn't out 
canoeing with some handsome young man." 

"Excellent!" 

He was thinking of that "handsome young man" and aston- 
ished to find in himself a jealousy not coy but bitter and real. He 
hated jealousy and all its rotten fruits, as he had seen them in 
court, hated that sour suspiciousness which ferments in love, 
yet over a girl to whom he had once said just fourteen words, he 
was mildly homicidal toward an imaginary young man. 

"I seem to be falling in love," he thought profoundly. 



CASS WAS DISAPPOINTED when Mrs. Fliegend telephoned to 
him not to dress for dinner. He would have liked to show 
Jinny how stately he could be. But she reported that Jinny was 
"so thrilled to meet you; she thinks you were wonderful on 
the bench so wise and of course Lucius and I do, too, Judge." 

He stroked Cleo, and sounded like her. 

After pondering on precedents, he decided that it was far 
enough on in the spring for him to wear his white-flannel suit, 
with the tie from Marshall Field's. While he put these on, 
gravely, as though he were studying a brief, he wondered how 
much he was going to like Jinny. So far, he merely loved her. 

Would she be one of these Professional Youths? Would she 
reek with gum and with the slang suitable to it: "Oh boy!" and 
"No soap" and "That's what you think"? 

"Oh, quit it!" he said, aloud and Cleo promised that she 
would. 

He was so elegant tonight that he drove to thie Fliegends', in- 
stead of walking. 

37 



The Fliegends' bulky old brown house was on South Beltrami, 
a block from Chris Grau's. 

He felt guilty of disloyalty to Chris in loving young Jinny, 
but he felt even wickeder as he reflected that though he had 
been born only three blocks from the Fliegends', he had not 
been in their house since boyhood, and could not remember its 
rooms. Probably Chris and Bradd Criley and Boone Havock 
had never been inside it. In "Hie Friendly City/* as we call 
it, we don't shoot Jews and Catholics and Socialists and saints. 
We just don't go calling on them. 

Then Mrs. Fliegend was beaming on him at the door, while 
he imagined her saying, "You phony politician! YouVe never 
condescended to come to our house till you wanted us to play 
procurers for you. You, the great Anglo-Saxon judge and gentle- 
manyou Sioux bastard! Get out!" 

Mrs. Fliegend must have wondered why Judge Timberlane 
seemed so pleased by her mild greeting. 

Looking past his hosts into the square living-room which 
made up half the first floor, he saw no Jinny, but only a great 
blankness where she should have been. 

Maybe she isn't coming? Ditched me for that young man 

in the canoe? 

Mrs. Fliegend was soothing him, "Oh, shell be here, Judge!" 

Is my youthful romance as obvious as all that? 

Remembering it only from childhood, he had expected the in- 
terior of the Fliegend house to be Oriental and over-rich. But 
it was the elder German and Yankee pioneers who had satin- 
brocaded walls and Tudor fireplaces. Here, the walls were of 
white paneled wood, dotted with old maps of Minnesota and 
portraits of its early heroes: Ramsey, Sibley, Steele, Pike, Talia- 
ferro. 

*1 didn't know you were such a collector of Minnesota items," 
said Cass. 

That sounded fatuous and condescending. I didn't mean 

to be. 

Lucius explained, "I was born in Minnesota, in Long Prairie, 
and my father before me, near Marine Mills, where my grand- 

38 



father settled. He fought through the Civil War, in the Third 
Minnesota. We are of the old generation." 

Cass was meditating upon his rare gifts of ignorance when 
Jinny Marshland flew into the room. 

She was no wild little hawk now, but a young lady. Her hair 
was put up, sleek and tamed, and she wore a dress of soft black 
with, at her pleated black girdle, one silver rose. She was quick- 
moving and friendly, and her greeting was almost excessive: 
"I'm terrified to meet you, Judge, after seeing you in court. I 
thought you were going to send me to Stillwater for contempt. 
You won't now, will you?" 

Yet no spark came to him from her, and she was just another 
pretty girl, another reed bending to the universal south wind. 

The other guests, a couple who came in with shy bumptious- 
ness, made him feel as guilty at his neglect of them as had the 
Fliegends. They were Dr. Silbersee, refugee Jewish eye-ear- 
throat specialist from Vienna, 'cellist in the amateur double- 
quartet that was Grand Republic's only musical wonder, and 
his wife Helma, who was equally serious about the piano, 
Apfelkuchen, and the doctrines of the post-Freudian psycho- 
analysts. 

Cass had been fretting all week, after his session with Chris 
Grau, that the local conversation was dull. He had wished, for 
the benefit of his unconscious protegee Jinny, to exhibit what he 
conceived to be a real European conversazione, complete with 
Rhine wine and seltzer. He got it, too, this evening, and he 
didn't care much for it. He realized again, as he had in Washing- 
ton and in waterfront dives in Trinidad, that most conversation 
is dull. Aside from shop-talk, which includes the whispering of 
lovers, anything printed, a time-table or the rich prose of a 
tomato-catsup label, is more stimulating than any talk, even 
the screaming of six economists and an intellectual actress. 

At dinner, the Fliegends and the Silbersees said that this 
fellow Hitler was no good, that it had been warm today, that 
it might be warmer tomorrow, that Toscanini was a good con- 
ductor, that rents in Grand Republic were very high just now, 
and that there was a Little Armenian Restaurant in Milwaukee. 

It was, in perfection, New York, minus the taxi horns, and 

89 



still Cass was not satisfied, and, so far as he could see, neither 
was Jinny. 

At first, as the conversation took fire, she hadn't so much as 
a chip to throw into it. She sat mute, with her hands folded 
small and flat and meek, and she had no observations on the 
subject of Debussy, regarding which Lucius had represented 
her as highly eloquent. Cass decided that she was stupid, and 
that there wasn't much to be said for himself either. 

But he noticed how quickly her dark eyes turned from speaker 
to speaker; how she weighed, and did not think very much 
of, her ponderous elders. Slowly he wa's hypnotized by her 
again; he felt her independence and her impatience to do 
things. Restless under this middle-aged droning, he wanted to 
be on her side. And he was a little afraid of her. 

But he made a good deal of progress in his romance. To his 
original fourteen words of address to her, he had now added 
sixty-seven others, including, "No, no, you weren't late. I thirvk 
I was ahead of time. I guess my watch is fast." No flowery 
squire could have said it more colorfully. 

The Fliegends were lenient hosts, and after dinner (roast 
goose and potato pancakes, such heavenly stuff as Grand Re- 
public rarely knew), they wedged the Silbersees in beside the 
grand piano, and sent Cass and Jinny "out to see the garden." 

Like most houses in Grand Republic, where the first settlers 
huddled together instead of taking ten acres for each garden, 
the Fliegend abode was too close to its neighbors. But they 
had planted cedar hedges, and made a pool surrounded with 
wicker benches that were, surprisingly, meant to be sat upon. 
Cass and Jinny did sit upon them, and he did not in the least 
feel that he was sitting upon a pink cloud. He was anxious to 
find out, while still posing as a big superior man, whether 
Jinny considered him a stuffy old party. 

"Nice dinner," he said. 

"Wasn't it?" 

"This, uh, this Roy Harris they were talking about do you 
know his music?" 

"Just a little." 



40 



"I've just heard some of it played." 

"Yes, uh I guess I guess Dr. Silbersee is a very fine 



musician." 



"Yes, isn't he." 

"Yes." 

"You've heard him play, Judge?" 

"Yes, uh oh yes, IVe heard him play. A very fine 'cellist." 

"Of course I don't know music well enough to tell, but I think 
he must be and " 

Then it broke: 

"Jinny! Were you bored tonight?" 

"How?" 

"Our pompous talk." 

"Why, I thought it was lovely talk. I was so interested about 
the conductors: Mitropoulos and Bruno Walter." 

"Oh. You like musicians?" 

"Love 'em. If I really knew any. But one thing did bother 
me." 

'What?" 

"I thought you were bored. I was watching you, Judge." 

"And I was watching you." 

"Two kids among the grown-ups!" 

They both laughed very much, and he was grateful for being 
included in her conspiracy of youth. 

The silent Jinny talked enough now. "I thought they were 
all so nice,. and oh boy! are they ever learned! I guess the peo- 
ple in Vienna must be like them. But I wanted to hear you 
talk." 

"Why?" It was too flagrant even to be called "fishing." 

"I wanted to know how do criminals get that way, and can 
you help them, and I'll bet they're awed by you." 

"Not much." 

"I would be. I was sort of disappointed by the court room, 
though. I thought there'd be a whole mob, holding their 
breaths, and sixteen reporters writing like mad, but they were 
oh, as if they were waiting for a bus. But then when I looked 
at you honestly, you scared me, Judge!" 

"Now, nowl" 

41 



"You didl n 

"How could I? Judge Blackstaff might, but I'm just a home- 
town lawyer." 

"You are not a home-town lawyer! Oh, I mean you are, of 
course, but I mean you aren't any home-town lawyer!" She 
sounded proud of him, and eager. "On the bench, you looked 
as if you knew everything, and maybe you might be kind of 
sorry for me, for having murdered my Aunt Aggie and stolen 
the sewing-machine oil-can, but you'd put me away for ten 
years, for the good of society. Wouldn't you?" 

"No, I'm afraid I'd resign from the bench first, Jinny." 

"M!" She sounded gratified, and with some energy he kept 
himself from seizing her hand. It was fated that he should now 
take the next step, with "You came by bus, didn't you? May I 
drive you home?" 

He, it seemed, might. 

He said good night to the Fliegends and Silbersees with a 
feeling of having enlarged his knowledge of Grand Republic. 
When Jinny was beside him in his car, the major purposes of 
his life seemed to have been accomplished, even if he could 
express the ultimate glory only by a hesitating, "It was a very 
pleasant evening, didn't you think?" 



8 



THE BOARDING-HOUSE of Miss Tilda Hatter was the hobohemia 
of Grand Republic. It occupied the two upper floors of a senile 
brick building near Paul Bunyan Avenue, in a land of rail- 
road sidings and six-man factories. On the ground floor of the 
building was the Lilac Lady Lunchroom: T. Hatter, Prop., at 
whose counter and four tousled tables eternal and poetic Youth 
could drink coffee and eat blueberry pie a la mode, with ice 
cream disgustingly but sweetly melting down into the blue- 
smeared debris, and talk about the high probability of their 
going to Minneapolis and singing on the radio, or going to 
Chicago and studying interior decorating. 
Above the restaurant were a dozen bedrooms, with one bath, 

42 



and a living-room agreeably littered with skis, skates, unstrung 
tennis rackets, stenographers' note-books, manuals on air-con- 
ditioning and gas-engine construction, burnt-out portable radio 
sets, empty powder compacts, empty gin bottles, and the Poetic 
Works of John Donne, with the covers missing. These upper 
rooms were reached by a covered wooden outside staircase. 

The building had once been a dry-goods store and once the 
offices of a co-operative farmers* insurance company, and 
once a butcher-shop with a fancy-house above it, in which two 
young ladies had murdered the melancholy butcher. But now 
it was all orderly as a Y.W.C.A., and rather like it in the ex- 
cessive amount of cigarette-smoking. 

As Cass and Jinny drove up to it, she insisted, "You must 
come up a minute and say hello to Miss Hatter. She's convinced 
the jury gave her all that money only because you told them to, 
and she's one person that really worships you." 

"Meaning that somebody else doesn't?" 

His wheedling tone, the distractedness with which he turned 
his face toward her and so ran the car up on the curb as he was 
parking, were not to be distinguished from the large idiocies of 
any other injudicious young lover. She answered only, "You'd 
be surprised! Come, it's one flight up." 

He had a daring hope that this girl, so desirable, with her 
bright face and young breast, did see him as the great man 
scattering nobility from the high throne of the bench. He knew 
that he wasn't anything of the kind, but merely a business um- 
pire in a dusty hall. Yet if she could have such faith in him, 
she might lift him to whatever greatness she imagined in him. 
With solemnity and love he followed her up the flat-sounding 
steps and into the boarding-house salon. 

Miss Hatter was mixing a heady beverage of gin, Coca-Cola, 
cre'me de rose, and tea, standing at a sloppy pine table, while 
four young people sat near her on the floor not because there 
were no chairs but because they were at the age and intel- 
lectual claimancy when one does sit on the floor. 

Miss Hatter screamed, "Oh, Judge!" As though he were a 
bishop or a movie star. "]irmy said she'd try to get you to 
drop in, but I never dreamed she wouldF 

43 



So this young woman had planned to have me drive 

her home. Am I gratified or do I feel let down? Anyway, she 
looks so charming, in fact, well, so aristocratic in her little black 
dress and that one silver rose, among these hit-or-a-miss yearners 
here. 

Miss Hatter was going on: "Folks, this is Judge Timberlane. 
My, this is an honor. I'll say it is!" 

Jinny introduced her four companions of the arts as they 
sulkily rose and dusted their knees. They were not too young 
twenty-four to thirty but the placid disregard of them by 
Grand Republic still kept them youthful and belligerent. They 
were Lyra Coggs, assistant city librarian, Wilma Gunton, head 
of the cosmetics department at Tarr's Emporium, Tracy Oleson, 
secretary to powerful Webb Wargate and a young man who 
seemed to Cass interesting enough to be looked at with sus- 
picion, Eino Roskinen, aged twenty-four, butter-maker at the 
Northward Co-operative Dairy but, as Jinny explained, a born 
theater director. 

Eino was a darkly serious young Finn; he looked at Jinny 
with what Cass nervously saw to be the greatest fondness and 
at Cass with the greatest dislike, so that Cass felt like an old 
windbag, though he had as yet said nothing more than, "Welll 
Good evening." 

So the struggle for her has started already. And I'm not 

going to give her up even to you, my Byronic young friend. 

He was certain that Eino was an evil whelp, who meant no 
good to Jinny. He sat on a chair, near Miss Hatter, the only 
other person of his age and uncomfortable dignity, while all 
five of the young people were on the floor, chattering espe- 
cially the Jinny who had been so silent at the Fliegends': 

"You know, Judge, we think we have an intellectual center 
here. Oh, we're tremendous. Wilma is going to New York to start 
a cosmetics company there green lip-sticks as soon as she 
can save enough money to ride there in a box-car. But our star 
is Eino. He has Theories. He says that the new America isn't 
made up of British stock and Irish and Scotch, but of the 
Italians and Poles and Icelanders and Finns and Hungarians 
and Slovaks. People like you and me are the Red Indians of 

44 



the country. We'll either pass out entirely or get put on reserva- 
tions, where we can do our Yankee tribal dances and wear our 
native evening clothes undisturbed. Isn't that the idea, Eino?" 

"Not entirely, Jinx. We may allow full citizenship to some 
of the Yankee tribesmen, if they learn the principles of co- 
operation and give up their medicine-menpastors they call 
'em, I believe. But judges, now I don't know about them. 
They're too corrupted by the native voodoo. I don't know 
whether they can learn to speak the American language." 

"Don't you dare to say anything against Judge Timberlane!" 
screamed Miss Hatter, and wondered why they all laughed 
at her, though Cass's contributory laughter was on the pale side. 

He was deciding, with a thrill of reality, that he hated Eino. 

That fatuous young pup! Daring to call her "Jinx." Or 

even "Jinny," for that matter. "Miss Virginia" is good enough 
for you, my friend. You and your Hunkies! Just try bucking us 
Yankees! By the way, my friend, do you happen to know that 
I'm scarcely Yankee at all, that Tm part Scandinavian and part 
Sioux? Of course you don't! And it makes me sick, when I won- 
der whether this Eino has ever dared to put his arms around 
Jinny or kiss her lips. Sick! 

All the while he knew that he did not mean any of it, that 
Eino was probably an excellent fellow. 

Funny. I never was jealous like this about Blanche. Won- 
der where she is now. Ill bet she's keeping that poor English 
husband of hers busy digging out viscounts for her! 

Miss Hatter, addressing him constantly as "Your Honor," was 
explaining the wonderful things she was going to do with her 
litigious $200, including false teeth for an aged cousin resident 
in Beloochistan, Minnesota. Tracy Oleson talked about canoe 
trips in the Crane Lake country. Jinny alleged that Dr. Silbersee 
had once absently tried to. remove tonsils from his 'cello. But 
Eino was scornful and still. 

Cass was a friendly villager, and accustomed to friendliness 
from others. Even the forger whom he condemned to the state 
penitentiary seemed to feel that it was all very reasonable, 
and Cass was dismayed now to feel hostility in the Eino to whom 

45 



he was entirely hostile! Suddenly Cass wanted to run off to the 
security of slippers and Cleo and a chess-problem. In a won- 
drously nervous state, between humble haughtiness and 
haughty humbleness before a dramaturgic butter-maker, he 
tacked successfully for an hour, and he was rewarded, when 
he said that it was time to go, by Jinny's coming down the 
outside staircase with him. 

The step at the foot of the stairs was no romantic site; it was 
a scuffed and scabby plank which creaked. In the small yard 
outside, an old hen of a maple tree perched amid patchy short 
grass, and the rusty old iron fence smelled of rusty old iron. 
Across the street, a man in a lighted upper window stood 
scratching himself. 

But she was in the half-darkness with him; he saw her throat 
above the soft black dress, he caught the scent of her hair, 
surely a different scent from any other in the world. She was 
herself different from anyone else, a complete individual, cou- 
rageous and joyful and yet so fragile that she must be pro- 
tected. He held her hand, and quaked with the feeling of it. 
There was no doubt now, he decided, that he was utterly in 
love with her, that her small dim presence was a vast blazing 
temple. She was not something that he had imagined in his 
loneliness. She was life. 

He stumbled, "Look, Jinny. Have you ever been to the Un- 
stable for dinner?" 

"Just once." 

"Like it?" 

"It's fun." 

"Will you dine with me there, next Tuesday or Wednesday?" 

"I'd be glad to say Tuesday." 

The fact that she had chosen the*earlier day was enough to 
send him home singing "Mandalay," with much feeling and no 
tune. 

After one in the morning, he sat in his leather chair and Cleo 
sat on the hearth. He was posing for himself a legal question: 
Was he trying to seduce Jinny? 

That would be extremely agreeable, if it could be accom- 
plished, and not much more criminal than setting fire to a chil- 

46 



dren's hospital. Reputable men did do it. It was obvious, he 
thought, that she was a little too young and too spirited to 
marry him, and even if she would accept him, would it not be 
a wickedness to introduce her in that dullest of all sets in Grand 
Republic, to which, by habit, he belonged? He had seen girls, 
lively and defiant, marry householders on Ottawa Heights, and 
within ten years become faintly wrinkled at the neck, and 
given to stating as rigidly as their own horrid grandmothers 
that all servants are thankless brutes. 

And how well did Jinny understand him? Would she be able 
to endure it if he took off the grave judicial manner which he 
wore for protection, and betrayed himself as a Midwestern Don 
Quixote, one-sixteenth Sioux and one-sixteenth poet: a bridge- 
player who thought that bridge was dull, a Careful Investor 
who sympathized with hoboes, a calm and settled householder 
who envied Thoreau his cabin and Villon his wild girls? 

"I ought to marry some woman who likes what I'm trying 
to do. Though I suppose I ought to find out first just what I am 
trying to do!" 

He ended his brooding with a cry that made Cleo leap pro- 
testing into the air: 

"I do love that girl sol" 

9 

THE UNSTABLE had been a stable and it had been a speak- 
easy and now it was the local Pre-Catelan, nine miles out of 
town, on the bank of the Big Eagle River, facing the rugged 
bluffs. The interior was in bright green, with chairs of polished 
steel and crimson composition tables decorated with aluminum 
blossoms, in semi-circular booths, and it had an orchestra of 
piano, saxophone, violin, and drum. By day, piano was a dry- 
goods clerk, saxophone was a Wargate warehouse-hand, violin 
was a lady hair-dresser, and drum was asleep. Its food was the 
standard Steak & Chicken, but its whisky was excellent Its 
most pious contribution to living was that in this land where 
autumn too often trips on the heels of spring and, except on 

47 



picnics, people dine inside, it did have outdoor tables, not of 
composition but of honest, old-fashioned, beer-stained pine. 

At such a table, in a grape-arbor, Cass and Jinny had dined 
slowly, looking at each other oftener than at the crisp chicken, 
the fresh radishes. They had talked of their childhoods, and 
they seemed united by fate when they found that he had, as 
a boy, hunted prairie chickens in the vast round of wheat 
stubble just beyond her native village of Pioneer Falls. 

He urged, "You know what I'd like most to do, besides learn- 
ing a little law and maybe having a farm way up in the hills 
above the Sorshay Valley? I'd like to paddle a canoe, or at 
least my half of the canoe, from New York City to Hudson's 
Bay, by way of the Hudson and the Great Lakes and the old 
fur-trappers' trail at Grand Portage, up here on Lake Superior. 
It would take maybe six months, camping out all that time. 
Wouldn't that be exciting?" 
"Ye-es." 
"Do you think you'd like to go along?" 

"I don't know I'm afraid I've never planned anything 

like that." 

"You can come in imagination, can't you?" 
"Ohmaybe. Provided we could go to New Orleans in 
imagination! to rest up afterward, and live in the French Quar- 
ter in a flat with an iron balcony, and eat gumbo. Could we do 
that?" 
'Why notl" 

They saw that they need not all their lives stick to courts and 
factories and city streets, but actually do such pleasant, ex- 
travagant things ... if they shaped life together. 
He cried, "Approval from the higher court! Look!" 
The moon had come out from a black-hearted, brazen-edged 
cloud, to illuminate the wide barley-fields on the uplands across 
the river, with one small yellow light in a farmhouse, and the 
fantastically carved and poplar-robed bluffs of the Big Eagle. 
Wild rOses gave their dusty scent, and inside the rackety road- 
house, the jukebox softly played Jerome Kern. It was everything 
that was most Christmas-calendar and banal: June, moon, 
roses, song, a man and a girl; banal as birth and death and 

48 



war, banal and eternal; the Perfect Moment which a man knows 
but a score of times in his whole life. All respectable-citizen 
thoughts about whether they should be married, and should 
they keep the maple bedstead in the gray room, were burned 
out of him, and he loved the maid as simply and fiercely as any 
warrior. He ceased to be just Cass Timberlane; he was a flame- 
winged seraph guarding the gentle angel. They floated together 
in beauty. They were not doing anything so common as to hold 
hands; it>was their spirits that reached and clung, made glorious 
by the moment that would die. 

When the moon was gone under a marbled cloud and the 
music ceased and there was only silence and lingering awe, she 
whispered, so low that he was not quite sure that she had said 
it, "That frightened me! It was too beautiful. 'On such a night 
' Oh, Cass!" 

She was chatty and audible enough afterward, and she care- 
fully called him "Judge," but he knew that they were intimates. 

As they drove home she prattled, "Judge, I have an important 
message. Tilda Hatter wants to give a party for you at the 
boarding-houses-all of us do, of course/' 

"Except Eino, who objects?" 

She giggled. "But don't you think his objection is flattering? 
I've only heard him object before to Henry James and Germany 
and stamp-collecting. . . . You will come? You'll love Lyra 
Coggs." 

"I'm sure I will. She's a great girl. . . . What are you snicker- 
ing at?" 

"You do try so hard not to be the judge, tolerating us noisy 
brats!" 

"I swear that's not so. Surely you're onto me by now. More 

J 

than anything else, I'm still the earnest schoolboy that wants 
to learn everything. And there's so much you can teach me. 
I certainly don't regard myself as aged, at only forty-one, but 
still you you were born the year of the Russian revolution, 
you've always known airplanes and the radio. I want to under- 
stand them as you do." 

"And the things I want to learn! Biology and hockey and 
Swedishl" 



49 



"How about anthropology and crop-rotation?" 

"Okay. And fencing and flower-arrangement and gin-rummy 
and Buddhism." 

"Do most of the kids at Miss Hatter's want to learn anything? 
They sound smug to me/' 

"They are not! If you knew how we talk when we're alone! 
Oh, maybe too much slang and cursing and talk about sex." 

He winced. He did not care for the picture of Eino Rosldnen 
"talking about sex" with a helpless Jinny ... if she was help- 
less. 

"But that's because we're sick of the pompous way that all 
you older people go on, over and over, about politics and affairs 
in Europe and how you think we drink too much." 

"Well, don't you?" 

"Maybe. But we know how to handle our liquor." 

"I doubt it." 

"So do I!" She laughed, and he was in love with her again, 
after a measureless five seconds during which he had detested 
her for the egotism of youth. She piped on, "But I do think 
we're a terribly honest lot." 

"You don't think I'm the kind of politician that hates honesty?" 

She said her "Oh, you're different," and the good man found 
the wisdom to stop talking and to feel the magic of having her 
there cozily beside him: her smooth arms, her hands folded in 
her lap, her thin corn-yellow dress and the small waist belted 
with glittering jet whose coolness his hand wanted to follow. 
She was there with him, this girl who was different from any 
female since Eve, and he was thus sanctified. . . . And did it 
really matter when she unfolded the fairy hands and smoked 
her seventh cigarette that evening? 

Didn't the vestal Chris smoke too much? 

The intrusion of Chris worried him. She had no hold on him 
but well if Chris saw him driving with this girl, there would 
be trouble. 

Why should there be trouble? I'm independent of her 

and of everybody else well, maybe not of Jinny. 

He said aloud, "What about your drafting at Fliegends'? I 

50 



suppose you want to go study in Paris, and become a famous 
artist." 

"No, I have no real ideas. I'm just a fair workman, at best, 
m never have what they call a 'career/ " 

He was so little Feminist as to be pleased. 

As they drove up to Miss Hatter's he wound up all the 
tinsel of his thoughts in one bright ball and tossed it to her: "I 
certainly have enjoyed this evening!" 

She answered with equal poesy, "So have I!" 

He tentatively kissed her hand. She could not have noticed 
it, for she said only, "You'll come to our party, week from Thurs- 
day, then?" 

"Yes, sweet. Good night/' 



10 



THE SURPRISING OBJECTS that you see when you leave your own 
Grand Republic and go traveling pink snakes and polar bears 
are nothing beside what you find when you stay at home and 
have a new girl and meet her friends, whose resentment of you 
is only less than your amazement that there are such people and 
that she likes them. 

At Tilda Hatter's party, Cass was first uncomfortable because 
he was the only Elder Statesman present and the young peo- 
ple showed their independence by unduly ignoring him. Then 
the gods presiding over that form of torture called social gather- 
ings switched to the opposite ordeal, and he found himself the 
rival of another celebrity, of whom, just to be difficult, the 
bright young people did make much. 

Besides the boarders, Jinny, Eino, Tracy Oleson, and the 
efficient Miss Gunton and Miss Coggs, there were present a 
couple of schoolteachers, the leftist county agricultural agent, 
and a young Norwegian-American grain expert who had once 
run for the Legislature. They sat tremendously upon the floor 
and talked, and all of them, including Jinny, to Cass's delicate 
distress, had Bourbon highballs. 

51 



Their talk was tempestuous. They said that America should 
join Great Britain in its war against Germany, but that many 
of the Rich Guys on Ottawa Heights were Isolationists. They 
said that it was okay that was how they put it for a man and 
a woman to live together without clerical license. Cass was 
shocked when he heard the pure young novice, Jinny, chirping, 
"Old people today are just as afraid of Sex as their grandfathers 
were." 

They all looked at Cass, but forbiddingly did not ask him 
what he thought. Eino Roskinen, squatted beside Jinny, drew 
her toward him, and she leaned with her back against his 
shoulder, and Cass violently did not notice. 

He did not understand their family words and jokes. One of 
them had only to say "Hail the Hippopotamus!" for the whole 
tribe to guffaw. He was not too old for them he was perhaps 
eight years older than Wilma or Tracy but he felt too bookish, 
too responsible, too closely shaved, too alone. 

He had become used to his de facto banishment when Lucius 
and Erica Fliegend and Sweeney Fishberg came in. 

Sweeney Fishberg was perhaps the most remarkable man in 
the cosmos of Grand Republic and surrounding terrain. 

He was an attorney, of liberal tastes, equally likely to take 
a labor-union case for nothing or to take the most fraudulent of 
damage suits for a contingent fee which, to the fury of his 
Yankee wife, he was likely to give to a fund for strikers any 
strikers on any strike. He was a saint and a shyster; part Jewish 
and part Irish and part German; he had once acted in a summer 
stock company, and once taught Greek in a West Virginia col- 
lege; he was a Roman Catholic, and a mystic who bothered 
his priest with metaphysical questions; he was in open sympathy 
with the Communist Party. 

For twenty years, ever since he had come to Grand Republic 
from his natal Massachusetts at the age of thirty, he had been 
fighting all that was rich and proud and puffy in the town; and 
he had never won a single fight nor lost his joy in any of them, 
and he was red-headed and looked like a Cockney comedian. 
He was nine years older than Cass, and no lawyer in the dis- 
trict ever brought such doubtful suits into court, yet no lawyer 

. 52 



was more decorous, more co-operative with the judge, and 
Cass believed that Sweeney had thrown to him all the votes he 
could influence in Cass's elections as congressman, judge, and 
member of the Aurora Borealis Bock Beer and Literary Associa- 
tion. 

It was Sweeney Fishberg who was Cass's rival as celebrity of 
the evening and who led the hazing. 

Pretending not to know that Cass had even heard of them, 
Sweeney and the Fliegends and Tracy Oleson and the county 
agent agreed that Dr. Roy Drover was a butcher, that Bradd 
Criley was a Fascist, and that the Reverend Dr. Lloyd Garri- 
son Gadd, Cass's distant cousin and his pastor, was a "phony 
liberal" who loved the wage-workers but underpaid his cook. 
It was clear to Cass that he was being drawn, but whenever he 
wanted to be angry, he remembered that this was the malice 
with which Roy and Bradd talked of Sweeney Fishberg and 
would have talked of Mr. Fliegend had they ever considered him 
important enough to mention. With prayer and resolution, Cass 
got through his hazing, and all of them began to look at him in 
a fond and neighborly way all but Eino. Not Eino, ever. 

On the ground of helping mix the highballs, Cass followed 
Jinny to the kitchen, a coop shocking with dirty dishes. He 
spoke savagely. "Did you plan to have all those Robespierres 
gang up on me?" 

"Not really. And they've often ganged up on me, for what 
they think is my innocence." 

"Are you in love with that Roskinen? Now, please, I don't 
mean to sound rude, but I must know. Are you engaged to him 
or anything?" 

"Not anything." 

"Are you engaged to anybody?" His arm circled her shoulder. 

"Not just now. Don't, Cass. You're choking me." 

"I almost could choke you when you let that Roskinen 
Oh, I suppose he's a decent-enough boy, but I'm furious when 
you let him maul you, put his hand on your breast." 

She flared, as if she hated him, "You have a vile mind!" But 
when he jerked back like a slapped five-year-old, she softened. 
"Honestly, darling, it doesn't mean a thing, with a colt like 



Eino, but if you want me to act like a lady, 111 try, and how 
I dread it!" 

He kissed her, long and seriously, surprised by the soft fleshi- 
ness of her lips. She squeezed away from him with an em- 
barrassed "Well!" and fled from him, carrying back into the 
living-room the still-unwashed glasses she had brought with 
her. As Cass leaned against the untidy sink, overwhelmed, feel- 
ing guilty but assuring himself that she had responded to his 
kiss, Eino Roskinen came in, glaring. 

"Now this is going to be melodrama," Cass thought protest- 
ingly. 

Eino was in his uniform as a young radical: dark jacket, soft 
shirt, small black bow tie; and he was militant. 

"I want to ask you something, sir." 

"Need you call me 'sir'?" 

"Maybe. Look. I'm very fond of Virginia. I'm kind of her 
brother. I notice you hanging around her, and you don't belong 
down here in the slums." 

"Slums?" 

"I guess they're that to you. You belong on the Heights. I 
want to know what the idea is. I guess, aside from your being a 
judge, that you could break me in two you're a sporting gent, 
I suppose. But if I found out that you were just having a little 
fun trying to make her, I'd take a chance on killing you." 

"Eino, that's funny." 

"How?" 

"Because that's the way I've been thinking about you! I'm in 
love with Jinny. I want to marry her, if I can. You're in love 
with her, too?" 

"And how! Except when she gets frivolous when I talk about 
the principles of co-operative distribution." Eino sighed. "But 
I can't marry anybody, for years." 

"So " 

"Oh, you probably win. You would!" 

"Eino!" The boy was astonished by Cass's fervor. "There's 
nobody else to whom I can say this. I worship that girl, and I 
hope you'll be my friend as you are hers." 

"Okay," said Eino, tragically. 

54 



Cass said good-bye to her at one-thirty, in the presence 
of the entire underground. Before going to bed, he spent half 
an hour in stroking Cleo and wanting to telephone to Jinny. But 
he held off till next evening and then demanded, Would she 
take a walk with him tomorrow evening? 

Yes. Without reservations. 

He hoped the Bunch hadn't been too hard on him after he 
had crawled away 

"Judge, you never crawled!" 

"Cass!" 

"Cass." 

"Tomorrow at eight? And a movie afterwards?*' 

"And a movie. And a caramel sundae." 

With that telephone conversation, touching on the deeper 
issues of life and passion, he felt satisfied. He was irritated but 
too canny to say anything about it when Mrs. Higbee (with the 
aid of Cleo ) brought him an evening toddy and looked ribald 
and knowing. 

"I can't run this big house all by myself," inwardly com- 
plained Cass, who never yet had run it. 

11 

BERGHEIM, CASS'S HOUSE, the old Eisenherz country place, 
looked out over the bluffs. It had neither a city nor a suburban 
aspect, but suggested a comfortable village. At the back, where 
the grass was more like an ancient pasture than a prim lawn, 
there was a green-painted wooden well, and the white-painted 
stable, with its pert cupola, suggested a print of the 1880's and 
long gentlemen with whiskers and driving-gloves, lace ladies 
with parasols, and spotted coach-dogs with their tails aloft in 
that fresher breeze. But what to Cass had always been, still was, 
a last touch of European elegance in Bergheim was that it had 
walnut-colored Venetian blinds. 

Across the street from Cass was the abode of Scott and 
Juliet Zago, who had for years been notorious as being happily 
married. They called their house, which displayed fake half- 

55 



timbering, and wavy shingles imitating thatch, sometimes "The 
Playhouse" and sometimes "The Doll's House/' Juliet, you see, 
being the doll. She was thirty-five to Scott's fifty, but she let 
people think that the gap was ten years greater. She was the 
chronic child-wife; she talked baby-talk and wriggled and 
beamed and poked her forefinger at things; and she often pre- 
tended to be the big sister of her two small daughters. 

Scott dealt in insurance, and he made jokes and made puns. 
Juliet read all the books about China and Tibet and gave you 
her condensed version of them not much condensed, at that 
with her own system of pronunciation of Chinese proper names. 

Yet Cass, who disliked puns and was readily sickened by baby- 
talk, did not detest the Zagos, and theirs was the only house in 
the neighborhood to which Cleo ever wandered. For they were 
the kindest of neighbors, as affectionate as parakeets. 

On one side of Cass's place lived the Perfect Prutts. 

John William Prutt, the father, was a banker; the most first- 
rate second-rate banker in the entire state. He was president of 
the Second National Bank. It could just as well have been called 
the First National Bank, since the institution once so named 
had perished, but Mr. Prutt's bank would have to be a second, 
never a first nor yet a last. He was fifty years old and always 
had been. He was perfect; in everything that was second-class 
he was perfect. He was a vestryman, but not the leading vestry- 
man, of St. Anselm's Church; he had been a vice-president but 
never the president of the Federal Club. He was tall and 
solemnly handsome, and he never split an infinitive or a bottle. 

His wife, Henrietta Prutt, his son, Jack Prutt, his daughter, 
Margaret Prutt, his dog, Dick Prutt, and even his Buick car, the 
Buick of the Prutts, were as full of perfection and Pruttery as 
John William Prutt himself. 

The Prutts lived in a supposedly little white Colonial cottage 
that had somehow grown into a huge white Colonial army-bar- 
racks, yet still breathed the purity of Jonathan Edwards, and 
just beyond it, in a hulk of grim dark native stone, lived another 
banker, Norton Trock, who collected china and sounded like a 
lady. 

On the other side of Cass's house was the blindingly white, 

56 



somewhat Spanish and somewhat packing-box, stucco residence 
of Gregory Marl, owner of the presumably liberal and Inde- 
pendent Republican newspapers, the Banner and the Evening 
Frontier, with the Sunday Frontier-Banner, the only English- 
language newspapers in Grand Republic. He was ar large, quiet, 
secretly industrious man of thirty-five; he had inherited the 
paper but had raised their circulations; he was a rose-grower 
and a Bermuda yachtsman. The star of his household, and a 
bright and menacing November star, was his wife Diantha, who 
was on every committee in town, and who knew something and 
talked a great deal about painting and the drama and a mystery 
called Foreign Affairs. But her major art was as hostess, and as 
the Marls had no children, Diantha could spend weeks in plan- 
ning a party. She was the rival of Madge Dedrick as the general 
utility duchess and Mrs. Astor of the city. 

Madge Dedrick, relict of Sylvanus Dedrick, the lumber 
baron, lived a little beyond the .Prutts, in a handsome, high- 
pillared Georgian house that had exactly the same lines (con- 
densed ) as Boone Havock's and did not in the least look like it. 
Madge's half-dozen small flower-gardens looked like gardens 
of flowers, while Mr. Havock's looked like paper posies, the 
larger size, bought last night and pinned on crooked in the 
darkness. 

At seventy, Mrs. Dedrick was small and soft-voiced, powdery 
of cheek, with tiny plump hands and great powers, held 
shrewdly under control, of derision and obscenity. Now living 
with her was her tall, doe-eyed, aloof, divorced* daughter, Eve 
Dedrick Champeris, who had been reared in Grand Republic, 
Farmington, New York, Cannes, and Santa Barbara, and who 
had divorced the* charming Mr. Raymond Champeris on the 
good, old-fashioned grounds of drinking like a sot and passing 
out at costly parties. It seemed like such a waste of champagne, 
Eve explained. 

Diantha Marl tempted society with high intellectual conversa- 
tion plus string quartets and dynamite cocktails; Madge and 
Eve Dedrick with cool Rhine wines in a low-lit, satin-paneled 
room filled with silver and crystal and cushions and exquisite 

57 



legs and lively spitefulness, so that the Wargates, who had ten 
times as much money, politely accepted the invitations of both 
Diantha and the Dedricks. 

On all these rulers of Grand Republic Cass meditated, while 
he fretted the question of whether Jinny would really like being 
lifted from her boarding-house to the stuffy elegance of Ottawa 
Heights. He wanted to persuade himself that she would like 
Boone Havock and Eve Champeris better than Eino Roskinen 
and Sweeney Fishberg. It was hard to play Prince to the Cinder- 
ella when he suspected that all the windows jn Castle Charming 
were glued shut. He conducted extensive imaginary conversa- 
tions with her, trying to give both sides, which is likely to be 
confusing. 

"Scott and Juliet jolly peoplewonderful at an outdoor bar- 
becue/' he heard himself informing Jinny, who snapped back, 
"Silly pair of clowns!" 

"Gregory and Diantha Marl leaders in public thought/' 

"Scared conservatives throwing calico babies to the union 
wolves 1" 

"Bradd Criley and Jay Laverick and Frank Brightwing 
very amusing fellows." 

'That's something like it. Just let me meet them, and you 
keep the others." 

Now what kind of a mind have I got, to give a non- 
existent antagonist the best of an argument? As I'm making the 
whole thing up anyway, why don't I have Jinny vanquished 
and humble and adoring? 

If he ever married Jinny, he would have to luie in new dinner- 
guests without offending the old ones, and then, probably, 
Jinny would not like the novelties. He thought of a party at 
which he introduced the Rev. Dr. Evan Brewster, Negro pastor 
of an unpainted Baptist church in the North End, and Ph.D. of 
Columbia, to Dr. Drover and Eve Champeris, and how bored 
Dr. Brewster would be by their patter and how much danger 
there would be that Jinny would too openly agree. 

Then, "Oh dry up!" said Cass to his imagination. 

58 



When the spring term of court was over, he was free for 
all summer, except for special sessions and a few days in the 
outlying towns of the district. They wound up with a solemn 
meeting of Judges Blackstaff, Flaaten, and Timberlane in re 
the portentous question: should the judges of this district, when 
on die bench, wear silk robes, as in Minneapolis? 

The three dignitaries sat about the long oak table in Judge 
Blackstaff's chambers, smoking unaccustomed cigars, the gift 
of their host, and grew red-faced with the ardor of their debate. 

"It's a matter of dignity/* maintained Judge Blackstaff, look- 
ing more than usual like Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. "I 
don't hold with these English wigs and heavy robes, but I do 
think we have to show the public, which is so irreverent and 
flippant today, all jazz and comic strips, that we represent the 
sanctity of Justice." 

"Dignity, hell!" Judge Flaaten protested. "Every time some 
Norske or Svenske saw me in a black-silk nightshirt, it would 
cost me ten votes. Besides, robes are hot." 

Judge Timberlane put in, "Not very, Conrad. They can be 
quite light. Besides, Grand Republic is the coolest city in the 
state south of Duluth. Besides, do you want to have the boys on 
the bench in Minneapolis go on laughing at us as a bunch of 
farmer j.p/s?" 

"I don't care a damn what they laugh at as long as the voting 
Lut'erans like us," insisted Judge Flaaten. He glared at Judge 
Blackstaff. "Steve, this is a serious matter. Are we going to 
yield up the high principles of common democracy to the bawds 
uh the gauds of the outworn Old World?" 

"Hurray!" breathed Judge Timberlane. 

"Cass, can't you be serious?" worried Judge Blackstaff. "This 
is a special court of protocol, which may go far to determine 
the standing of the judiciary in Grand Republic for all time to 
come. Write your votes on the yellow pads, boys, and fold 'em 
and give me back those pencils when you get done with 'em. 
It's a caution the way my pencils get stolen!" 

Silk robes for district judges won by two to one, and when 
autumn came, none of them more proudly showed his robe 

59 



to his relatives than Judge Flaaten. Judge Timberlane did not 
care so much. There was only one person for whom he wanted 
to wear his robe, and by prodigious chicanery he lured her 
into the court to see it. But such is life she only laughed. 

12 

THE SELECT golf-and-tennis association of Grand Republic was 
the Heather Club, three miles from the business center, on a 
peninsula reaching out from the south shore of Dead Squaw 
Lake. Surrounding it was the smart new real-estate develop- 
ment called the Country Club District, habitat of such gilded 
young married couples as the Harley Bozards, the Don Penn- 
losses, the Beecher Filligans, and the playground of Jay 
Laverick, the town's principal professional Gay Bachelor, who 
happened to be a widower. The houses were Spanish, like 
Hollywood, or French, like Great Neck, and the Heather club- 
house was a memory of Venice, with balconies, iron railings, and 
a canal thirty-six feet long. 

To the Heather Club in late June Cass came for one of the 
famous Saturday Evening Keno Games. Keno (a sport beloved 
by the more aged and pious Irishwomen also ) consists in plac- 
ing a bean upon a number called out by some swindler un- 
known, through an unseen loud-speaker, and after you have 
breathlessly placed enough beans upon enough numbers, you 
fail to get the prize. It is not so intellectual as chess or skipping 
the rope, but it is a favorite among Grand Republic's leading 
citizens, who gather at the Heather Club on every Saturday 
evening in summer, to drink cocktails and play keno and then 
drink a lot. more. 

With only one cocktail in him, Cass was deaf to the joys of 
keno this evening, and he wished that he were deaf to the 
crackling voices about him at the dozen long tables, as he 
somberly put down his beans. Roy Drover's shouts of "Send us a 
thirty-two, baby, send us a thirty-two, come on, baby, come on, 
hand us a thirty-two" merely rivaled Queenie Havock's parrot 
shrieks and Norton Trock's high giggling, while Eve Champeris 

60 



had a flushed mild imbecility about her lily face. Delia Lent, a 
purposeful lady though rich, sat beside Cass, babbling about 
trout-fishing, but presently he could hear nothing that she said. 
All the hundred voices were woven into a blanket of sound 
that covered Cass and choked him. 

Abruptly, while Mrs. Lent stared at his lack of manners, Cass 
bolted from the table, charged toward the bar. He would have 
to have a quantity of drinks, if he was going to survive these 
pleasures. He passed an alcove in which two grim women, too 
purposeful about gambling to waste time on keno, were hour 
after hour yanking the handles of twenty-five-cent slot machines. 
He passed a deep chair in which sat two married peoplenot 
married to each other. He looked into the card room where 
Boone Havock, Mayor Stopple, Judge Flaaten, Counselor Oliver 
Beehouse, and Alfred Umbaugh, the hardware king, were play- 
ing tough poker in a refined way. 

Jinny's spirit walked with him derisively. 

He had almost reached the forgetfulness to be found at the 
bar when beyond it, in the Ladies' Lounge, he saw Chris 
Grau, having a liqueur with Lillian Drover. He stopped, in 
cold guiltiness, and the imaginary Jinny fled. 

He had not seen Chris for ten days, and as she looked at him, 
all her kindness in her good brown eyes, he shivered. But he 
obediently chain-ganged into the lounge. Lillian Drover rose, 
tittering, in washed-out imitation of her husband's humor, "I 
guess I better leave you two young lovers alone, if I know 
what's good for me/' 

Chris's smile indicated that that would, be fine. 

The Ladies' Lounge, which had been named that by Diantha 
Marl, after having been christened the Rubens Room by the 
Milwaukee architect-decorator who had done the club in the 
finest Moorish style known in his city, was a harem, with 
grilled windows, a turquoise-blue tiled floor, and a resigned 
fountain. It was suitable to the harem feeling that Chris should 
be wearing a loose-throated lilac dress. 

Cass sat facing her, with an entirely mechanical "Can I get 
you another drink?'* . 

"Not for me. There's too much drinking here. I'm glad you're 

61 



so sober. But then, you always are. It's these younger people 
that are breaking down the bulwarks of society with their guz- 
zling and shrieking and indecent dancing." 

"Now, now, Chris, the drunkest person here tonight is 
Queenie Havock, and she's well over fifty, and I saw Bernice 
Claywheel, and she must be over forty, out dancing on the 
terrace- with Jay Laverick as though she expected to eat him." 

"Ye-es I know, but You simply love the sweet young 
things, don't you, Gassy Cass." 

"M?" 

"I'm sure you had a wonderful time with your beautiful 
unknown at the Unstable, two weeks ago!" 

"Why, I Yes I did!" 

"And did you enjoy holding hands in the moonlight?" 

He tried to be jaunty. "Enjoyed it very much. Especially as 
I don't suppose 111 have another chance, alasl" 

Why don't you tell Chris to go to the devil? She's not 

your guardian. 

"So you don't think you'll see her again, eh, Cass darling. 
Honestly, now honestfee you know I'm not the nagging sort 
of girl that would even ask who she was, and certainly I'm not 
the kind that would go around hinting and whispering that a 
man who isn't so young any more " 

"What do you " 

" is making a fool of himself over some young tramp. I was 

just teasing you about this girl. Of course I know you'd never 
fall for her, whoever she is. So let's not say anything more 
about it, dear." 

"I hadn't said anything at alll" 

"That's what I say. Honestly, I was just joking. Now tell me: 
will you get the Fleeber-Biskness case in the fall, or will they 
settle it?" 

Now the affaire Fleeber-Biskness was a fascinating con- 
troversy, to Judge Timberlane, but it had not seemed so to the 
crass public. It was a conversion case, dealing with the posses- 
sion of a warehouse 28' 7" X 62' 8". Cass was glad once more to 
see what a sympathetic brain Chris had and, as he looked at 
them again, what sleek legs. As the palace of pleasure rang 

62 



with the Bacchanalia of keno, he explained to this willing hearer 
the low tricks Mr. Biskness was accused of having played with 
a carload of clay. He stumbled as she crossed her legs and he 
realized that, with innocent spinster boldness, she had come 
without stockings. 

This was in the prim pre-war era of 1941, when it is true that 
bathing-suits had been reduced to an emphasized nudity, but 
when perfect ladies still did not display naked legs in public 
rooms. The Judge was a person of decorum and modesty, but 
he was interested. 

Chris would give a lover such solid affection probably 

much more than a filly like Jinny Marshland. 

Npt unmindful of the careless lilac-colored skirt but de- 
termined to be high-minded, he went on with the case, winding 
up, "You understand, that's only Fleeber's version, and it's a 
matter of record. I'm not giving away any secrets." 

"Sure. I know you never tell tales out of court," said Chris, 
fondly. 

"If I ever did, you'd be the one person I could rely on. 
What's say we have a drink?" 

"I'd love to," gurgled the strange woman in lilac, 



63 



An Assemblage of Husbands and Wives 



THE ZEBRA SISTERS 

THE QUIMBER GIRLS, better known to the ribald of Grand Re- 
public as the Zebra Sisters, belonged to a real family, lively 
and devoted, full of anecdotes that began with laughter and, 
"Oh, do you remember the time when." Their father, Millard 
Quimber, who was still alive, aged eighty-one, was the city 
superintendent of schools from 1895 to 1928. He was referred 
to in the press as "one of our greatest builders,*' because during 
his reign there had been erected three red-brick school-build- 
ings which looked like red-brick school-buildings. He was also 
known as a "profound scholar/' because he continually quoted 
Bobby Burns and Henry Van Dyke and the first two lines of the 
Iliad, almost in the original Greek. 

His three daughters were named Zoe, Zora, and Zeta; they 
were born between 1890 and 1900; they were fine, big, bounc- 
ing hussars of women, hearty at winter sports, discursive about 
their husbands, all philoprogenitive, all ardent Presbyterians, 
though with secret desires to be Episcopalians and chic. Their 
favorite words were family, chickabiddies, earnest, expensive, 
womanly, jolly, and ice cream. 

Their several husbands were derisively referred to at the 
Heather Club bar as the Brothers-in-Law, Incorporated. 

Zoe, the youngest daughter, was married to Harold W. Whit- 
tick, the owner of radio station KICH and of Whittick & 
Bruntz, a two-room advertising agency which existed chiefly to 
tell a house-hungry world about Wargate Wood Products. 
When the chairman of a Rotary Club luncheon at which Harold 
W. was to speak ( about Progress ) asked him what to say in 
introduction, Harold W. wrote a description of himself which 
may stand as modest and accurate: 

"Not only the most streamlined but the most up-to-the-second 
moderne citizen of Grand Republic." 

But Harold W. was, as the chairman laughingly said you 
know, kidding him not himself in Rotary, because he was 

fi4 



National Assistant Treasurer of the rival Streamlineup Club, 
a service organization distinctive in that it had all the speeches 
before lunch, when everybody was "still on his toes, full of 
ginger and not of hash." 

Zora, the middle Zebra, was fondly wed to Duncan Browler, 
first vice president of the Wargate Corporation, in charge of 
manufacture. Unlike Harold W. Whittick, he did not make 
speeches. 

The oldest, Zeta, was married to Alfred T. Umbaugh, a 
gentle and predatory soul who admired his brother-in-law 
Harold and who, more nearly than the other two husbands, en- 
dured the demands of his wife that he be jolly and amorous. 
He was the chief owner of the Button Bright Chain of Hard- 
ware Stores, twenty-seven of them, all shiny and yellow, scat- 
tered through Minnesota and the Dakotas, with one far-flung 
outpost or consulate in Montana. This imperial standing made 
him, like Browler, eligible to the Federal and Heather Clubs. 
Naturally, Whittick had also been admitted to those twin 
heavens, but with a warning from the committee that he would 
do well not to get oratorical and forward-looking after his 
fourth highball, and while he was at the table of the blest, he 
was about ten feet below the salt. 

Harold, Duncan and Alfred were unlike in tempo, but they 
were all true husbands to the Zebra. All three of them were 
irritated by their wives but never thought of quitting them, 
all of them had sons and daughters, all were devoted to golf, 
fishing, musical-comedy movies, motor boats, and Florida, and 
all of them had new houses, in the Country Club District, of 
which they were fiercely proud and for which they would have 
done murder. None of them was eccentric, except that Harold 
W. Whittick just for a josh, everybody said; to show oiff and 
try to be different asserted that he had once voted for a Demo- 
cratic candidate for the presidency, Mr. Franklin Delano Roose- 
velt. And all of them, though grumblingly, consented to be 
ruled and extensively discussed by The Family. 

They all dined with Grampa Quimber every Sunday noon; 
and each Thursday, one of the three sisters was hostess to the 
others and their broods, with the one great-grandchild in The 

65 



Family, that of the Umbaughs, asleep upstairs. At these feasts, 
Harold W. Whittick usually told the story about the Irishman 
and the cigar-counter girl; and there was a good deal of inno- 
cent laughter about the time, in 1936, when Mr. Browler got 
drunk at an Elks' Convention and bought a small red fire 
engine. 

An unusual feature of the Zebra gatherings was the fifteenth- 
century frankness with which the sisters reported on the progres- 
sive feebleness of their husbands as lovers. They were rugged 
and healthy girls, and expected a lot, and did not get it. How- 
ever, they sighed, it was something that neither Harold W. nor 
Alfred T. nor Duncan "ever so much as looked at any woman 
outside the home/' 

That's what they thought. 

The Brothers-in-Law, Inc. jointly made business trips to Min- 
neapolis, where they stayed at the magnificent Hotel Swanson- 
Grand, with three connecting bedrooms and a parlor. Of the 
uses to which these rooms were put, the Sisters knew nothing. 
The Brothers-in-Law were stalwarts, pledged and reliable, and 
so were their Grand Republic friends who managed to be in 
Minneapolis at the same time. 

Half an hour after the Brothers' arrival, the parlor was turned 
into a complete bar. Within half an hour more, the girls had 
arrived not traditional young blondes who glittered, nothing 
so frigid and boring, but dependable young women of thirty, 
who worked in offices and banks and stores, who understood 
hard liquor and liked men. 

By two next morning there was a tremendous amount of 
laughter and communal undressing, to the nervous delight of 
such Grand Republic visitors as Mayor Stopple, Harley 
Bozard, Jay Laverick, and Boone Havock. 

New York and Chicago and London visitors to Grand Re- 
public, particularly if they were journalists renowned for 
shrewdness, concluded that Harold W., Alfred T., and Duncan 
were the most conventional, most standardized, most wife- 
smothered and children-nagged citizens of our evangelical land, 
but in truth they belonged among the later Roman Emperors, 
and he that has never seen Duncan Browler, elder of the Pres- 

66 



byterian Church, standing in his cotton shorts, a lady telephone- 
supervisor clasped in his right arm, a half-tumbler of straight 
Dainty Darling Bourbon Whisky waving in his left hand, the 
while he sings "It's Time to Go Upstairs/' has only the shallow- 
est notion of the variety of culture in our Grand Republic, a 
city which, in different dialects, has also been called Grand 
Rapids and Bangor and Phoenix and Wichita and Hartford and 
Baton Rouge and Spokane and Rochester and Trenton and 
Scranton and San Jose and Rutland and Duluth and Dayton 
and Pittsfield and Durham and Cedar Rapids and Fort Wayne 
and Ogden and Madison and Nashville and Utica and South 
Bend and Peoria and Canton and Tacoma and Sacramento and 
Elizabeth and San Antonio and St. Augustine and Lincoln 
and Springfieldill and Springfieldmass and Springfieldmo and 
Ultima Thule and the United States of America. 



13 



JUDGE TIMBERLANE had heard of middle-aged satyrs who 
worked their will upon frail maidens by promising them riches 
and magenta-colored cars but never introduced them to the 
respectable families of their circles. But the Judge himself 
wanted his entire world to know his fleet Jinny. He stopped in 
at Miss Hatter's, he discussed with Tracy Oleson the import of 
wood pulp, then got Jinny aside to whisper, Td like to have 
a buffet supper for you and have you meet my friendsyou 
needn't like 'em if you don't want to. And maybe you'd like to 
invite Tracy? He's quite a bright fellow." 

Perhaps he sounded condescending, without meaning to, 
for she answered irritably, "I don't want to meet a lot of rich 
people looking for somebody to snub!" 

"But very few of them are rich and none of them are snob- 
bish. I meant people like Abbott Hubbs, managing editor of thf> 
Banner. I'll bet the owner, Greg Marl, doesn't pay him enough 
to afford breakfast. And my sister, Rose Pennloss, and my old 
chum, Bradd Criley good lawyer and the best dancer in town. 
People that you'd love, if you knew 'em." 

"I don't want to be shown off, Cass. I'm perfectly happy right 
here where I am, and if I do ever get anywhere else, I want to 
do it by myself." 

It took him five minutes to persuade Cinderella that the glass 
slipper was pretty and then, just to keep him entirely confused, 
she said that she would love a party, and if she had sounded 
grudging, it had been only because she was surprised. 

The buffet-supper for her was to be at the Heather Club, 
which was crowded only on Saturday evenings. When he picked 
her up in his car, she did not expect him to take Tracy Oleson, 
that muffler, along with them; and she was not prudish when 
he suggested that, as they were early, they could stop at his 
house on the way. (It was not on the way. ) 

At Bergheim she stepped out wonderingly under the wed- 



ding-cake carriage-porch and pronounced, "Oh, I love it! Like 
Walter Scott!" 

She was wearing again the little black net dress in which 
she was so pathetically grown-up, and the one silver rose. 

Silent, head turning quickly to one side and the other, she 
preceded him into the dolorous hall, into the drawing-room, 
which was too long, too narrow, and too high, and in one corner 
surprisingly darted off, under a varnished pine grill, into a semi- 
circular alcove which was the lowest story of the tower. It was 
an ill-lighted room, with wallpaper of Chinese pagodas and 
bridges, with overcarved and unwieldy furniture upholstered in 
plum-colored plush and ornamented with a Michigan version 
of Chinese dragons; a room profuse in Chinese vases, Aztec 
pottery, embossed brass coffee tables, Venetian glass lamps, and 
colored photographs of Lake Louise; a room that was unut- 
terably all wrong, and yet was stately and a home. 

Jinny stood in the middle and looked about, neither awed 
nor ridiculing it, belonging to it as ( Cass fondly believed ) she 
would belong to any setting she might encounter. 

Then Cleo came bossily into the room on delicately haughty 
feet, wanting to know who the deuce this was in her house. 

Jinny gave a passionate little moan, a sound not so unlike a 
cat's, soft and imploring, and knelt before Cleo, smoothing the 
side of her jaw. The kitten recognized her as one of the tribe, 
and spoke to her in their language. Jinny sat crosslegged then 
and Cleo perched on her knee like a small brave statue. Acro- 
batically, not to disturb the kitten, Jinny reached out far for the 
evening purse that she had dropped, looked up at Cass apol- 
ogetically, and brought out a tiny crystal model of a cat-god- 
dess of the Nile. 

"It's my talisman. Dad gave it to me years ago, as a toy, but 
I almost let myself believe that it was alive and now I know 
it's childish, but I always take it everywhere you know, so 
it can see the world and get educated, poor thing." 

"What's its name?" 

"Different names at different epochs. All of them silly. Just 
now it hasn't one/' 

69 



"Why not call it The kitten is also an Egyptian national, 

and named Cleopatra. Why not call your statuette Isis?" 

"Isis. 'Slim, undulant deity Isis, mistress of life/ Okay. Let's 
see if Cleo will have sense enough to recognize a high-class 
goddess and worship it." 

She placed the crystal Isis on a mat made of her handkerchief, 
on the cabbage-rose carpet, and Cleo before the shrine. They 
watched gravely, Cass's hand on Jinny's shoulder, while Cleo 
walked three times around the goddess, sniffing, then, with a 
careful paw, pushed it over and glanced up at them, much 
pleased with herself. 

"They're friends, anyway," said Jinny. 

"Like us." 

"Uh-huh." 

He kissed her, without prejudice. 

He herded her into the kitchen, and announced, "Mrs. Hig- 
bee, this is my friend Miss Marshland. The house is hers." 

Well, Jinny smiled, Mrs. Higbee smiled, Cleo, sticking around 
and quietly running everything from behind the scenes as 
usual, made a sound that corresponded to smiling, and the 
augury was bright. 

Then Cass remembered that Mrs. Higbee liked Chris Grau, 
also, and that Chris would formidably be at the buffet-supper 
tonight. 

They drove up to the Heather Country Club, which resembled 
the Home of a Famous Movie Star, and Jinny was apparently 
delighted by its yellow tile roof and its grilled windows and 
blue plaques set in white plaster walls. They crossed the clat- 
tering stone-floored lobby to the outdoor terrace on which, this 
fine June night, the supper was handsomely set out: a baked 
ham, with cloves stuck all over its sugary bulk, lobster salad 
and chicken salad and cold salmon, and an exuberant ice-cream 
mold decked with spun sugar. These treasures were assembled, 
like a jovial combination of Christmas and Fourth of July, on a 
long table at one end of the thatch-roofed outdoor bar. At the 
other end of the bar was the real business: a case of Bourbon, 
half a case of Scotch, and a cocktail-shaker of the size and 

70 



menace of a trench-mortar, all guarded by the club bartender, 
who knew all the amorous and financial secrets of the members. 
As to wine, most prominent citizens of Grand Republic, includ- 
ing Cass, were unaware of it except as something you nervously 
ordered on a liner. 

There were to be twenty-six at the supper, and six tables, lacy 
and silver-laid, were on the terrace, with Dead Squaw Lake 
swaying beyond them, and the pine-darkened hills and the red- 
roofed yacht club visible on the farther shore. 

But none of this luxury did Cass behold. What he saw was 
Chris Grau, happily arranging the flowers, and her happiness 
chilled him. 

He had not told Chris nor any one else that this supper was 
to be the introduction of a Miss Virginia Marshland to his 
friends, and it was assumed that this was another of the duty 
dinners which unmarried favorites like Cass and Bradd Criley 
and Jay Laverick give the technical word is "throw" now and 
then when their social obligations have reached the satura- 
tion point. Chris had insisted that he let her order the supper, 
be the hostess. 

She was busy now, in her fresh cream-colored linen dress, 
her gaudiest costume jewelry, arranging the huge bunches of 
peonies. At Cass's footstep, she looked up with a smile that 
went cold when she saw him with an unknown wench who was 
too airy and much too pretty. 

The oratorical pride of the Bar Association could do no better 
than: "Chris Miss Grau! Miss Marshland uh Jinny Marsh- 
land/' 

Both women said "Jdoo" with good healthy feminine hatred, 
and Cass was rather surprised. 



In making up his list of guests, he had not been able to avoid 
having Roy and Lillian Drover, though he did not expect Jinny 
to like them. He thought she might like his sister Rose and the 
Gadds and Greg Marls and the Abbott Hubbses and the Avon- 
dene girls and even the giggling Scott Zagos. He was sure that 
she would like Bradd Criley and once, a few days ago, before 
he had lost his innocence, he had hoped that Jinny and Chris 

71 



might "hit it off nicely," having no sounder reason for that hope 
than that it would be considerably more convenient for him if 
they did. And Eve Champeris, of Paris, California, and Grand 
Republic, the most exquisite and linguistic woman in town- 
he himself had never been comfortable with Eve, and he had 
invited her entirely to impress Jinny. 

He had been more daring than anyone can know who does 
not live permanently in Grand Republic in leaving out Boone 
and Queenie Havock daring and sensible, since at one macaw 
scream from Queenie, Jinny might very well have started walk- 
ing home. But the Havock scion, Curtiss, he had invited. Curtiss 
was a bulky, cheerful, unmarried, somewhat oafish young man 
who was supposed to work in the Blue Ox National Bank 
but who was more earnest about fast driving and who was sup- 
posedj for reasons incomprehensible to Cass, to be attractive to 
young women. 

Especially for Jinny, he had asked Tracy Oleson, Fred 
Nimbus, announcer at Station KICH, Lucius and Erica Flie- 
gend, and to keep the Fliegends from feeling chilled at the 
Heather Club, in which they had not been present five times in 
ten years, he had invited that intelligent young couple, Richard 
and Francia Wolke (the Chippewa Avenue jewelers) who had 
never been in the club. Chris had not seen his list and now, as 
she looked over the party, she tenderly thought that she had 
never known her Cass to show so superbly the trusting social 
ineptitude for which she loved him and wanted to mother him. 
Curtiss Havock would insult the glibly handsome Fred Nimbus 
who would annoy Eve Champeris who would be insolent to the 
WoUces who would bite the Zagos who would nauseate Dr. 
Drover who would be rude to the Hubbses who hated their 
bosses, Gregory and Diantha Marl, while Chris herself would 
have been just as glad if he had not invited Stella Ayondene 
Wrenchard, that impoverished and aristocratic young widow 
who was so resolutely after Cass for herself that she went around 
saying, "I adore Chris poor dear." 

And when Chris found that he had added this unknown 
young fly-by-night called Miss Virginia Mushland or something, 
then she was almost as irritated as she was tender. So far as 

72 



Chris could see, he had done everything to insure his social 
ruin in Grand Republic except to invite the local labor* 
organizers. 

This Mushland doll was evidently too awkward and un- 
tutored to be of any 'use, and Chris went ardently to work at 
what is called "making the party a success/' While Cass filled 
the unwanted girl's plate at the buffet and sat beside her at 
table, shamelessly beaming, Chris maneuvered the guests to 
suitable tables, kept Curtiss Havock from having too many 
drinks and the Fliegends from having too few, had Jinny switch 
seats with Stella Avondene, to prevent scandal and to keep Cass's 
errant fancies on the move, got Fred Nimbus, the radio genius, 
to sing, got Fred Nimbus to make a comic speech, got Fred 
Nimbus to start the dancing with Jinny. 

Chris saw to it that Jinny also danced with Bradd Criley, 
Curtiss Havock, Dick Wolke, Greg Marl, and only twice with 
Cass, to the end that Jinny, who had at first been embarrassed 
by the strangers, had a lively evening and loved Cass for it 
Cass, not Chris. 

All this good sacrifice Chris made for Cass, and was sorry 
only that he did not see it. 

But Cass did see it, and he knew now how a burglar felt 
when he was facing Judge Timberlane. 

He understood Chris's loyalty and her plump charms. He 
wondered why the Fates should so arrange it that he could feel 
only amiable toward Chris, who wanted him, and be wan and 
adoring with the Jinny who as yet considered him merely 
another traveling-man. 

With a jar he found that Jinny, too, was seeing everything 
that she couldn't possibly see. When, long after eleven, he had 
his second dance with her he had watched the match-unmak- 
ing Chris throw her to such dogs as Fred Nimbus Jinny said 
with ah affection he had never heard from her: 

"Dear Cass, I am having such a gay time, thanks to you and 
to your Miss Grau. That nice woman. She does try so hard to 
hate me, but she doesn't know how. She tried to snoot me by 
asking how I liked 'working in a factory/ but before she got 
through, I had her longing to get off her chaise-longue and be 

73 



big and brave and punch a time-clock. Cass, you are so good 
and so bungling. You know I'm just a stray cat, like Cleo. I 
wouldn't want to because I am so fond of you I wouldn't 
want to make any trouble between you and Chris the girl- 
friend. Honestly." 

He made the suitable arguments. 

He knew that, seen as just one of the "country-club bunch," 
he had lost for her something of his dignity as a Public Figure, 
but he also knew that she was now responsive to him. He was 
proud of her debut. She had been so easy with even the most 
difficult of his guests, with his over-inquisitive sister and with 
the roaring Roy Drover. Bradd Criley ha'd informed him that 
Jinny was a "lovely, intelligent girl, and a stepper." That was 
news I 



14 



WHEN THE PARTY had meandered to its quiet ending, when 
the older pleasure-maddened citizens had gone home to bed 
and the stoutly drinking remnant had moved indoors to escape 
the chill, Chris gave up her impersonal rule as mistress of the 
revels and settled down at a table with Cass, Jinny, Tracy 
Oleson, the inebriated Hubbses and the soused Curtiss Havock, 
and began to pay loving though discouraged attention to Cass. 

He was alarmed. No more than any other man did he want 
to face the unwed lioness robbed of her wish-dream cubs, the 
chronic wife who resents the straying of her husband just as 
much when he is not yet her husband. He had hoped to slip 
away wjth Jinny, and perhaps be invited in for an incautious 
moment 

Curtiss belched. Hubbs said, "I agree." "Then I'll take you 
home," said Mrs. Hubbs. Tracy rose. "Judge, I can save you a 
trip. Ill drive Jinny back I have my little bus here/' 

Treacherous as all sweethearts, Jinny babbled, "Oh, thank 
you, Tracy. Judge, I did have such a good time. Thank you for 
inviting me. . . . Good night, Miss uh Miss Grau." 

Cass was alone with Chris. 

74 



"I think they all enjoyed it, don't you, Chris?" 

"Yes?" 

"Due mostly to you, though. You were the perfect hostess. I 
was amused the way you kept steering Curtiss away from the 
bar/' 

"Yes?" 

"And I don't know how you ever managed to coax such a 
beautiful supper out of the steward, and when you think " 

"Cass!" 

"What is it, dear?" 

" 'Dear'! Cass, have you fallen for that young female grass- 
hopper, that Marshland girl, at your age?" 

"What d' you mean, 'At my age?" 

"I mean at your age!" 

"I'm the second youngest district judge in Minnesota!" 

"And probably you're the youngest octogenarian. I know you 
can still play baseball and dance the tango, only you don't. You 
like the fireside and your books and chess." 

"So I'm that picturesque figure, the venerable judge. Why 
don't you put in slippers, along with the fireside and the books 
you mean old books, that smell of leather!" 

"Well, your books mostly do, don't they? I just can't see you 
with a gilt-and-satin copy of 'Mademoiselle Fifi/ or whatever 
it is your Virginia reads." 

"I'll tell you what she reads! She reads Santayana and Willa 
Gather and, uh, and Proust! That's what she reads!" 

"Does she? I didn't suppose she could read. She certainly 
doesn't show any stains from it." 

"Just because she doesn't go around showing off like a young 
highbrow " 

"Oh, Gassy Cass, I mean I'm sorry, I truly am. The last 
tiling in the world I meant to do was to start scrapping with 
you." They were on a couch in the club lounge. A bartender 
and four late bridge-players and the two female slot-machine 
addicts were still present, and he felt that otherwise Chris 
would crown her humility by kneeling before him, as she 
went on: 

"It's just that we started twenty years ago, when you were a 

75 



veteran of twenty and I was a worshiping brat of ten, no, 
eleven, that could hide her reverence for you only by being 
saucy, and so I got the miserable habit of jabbing at you and 
Cass! Do you take this little Marshland girl seriously? An 
exquisite little thing she is, too, I must say, and probably fairly 
intelligent and even virtuous, curse her! I mean, damn her! 
Do you think you're a little in love with her?" 

"I think I'm a good deal in love with her. I agree with you 
in saying 'damn her'! I didn't want to be in an earthquake. 
You're dead right, my dear; I do prefer quiet. But I'm simply 
God-smitten." 

She sighed then, sighed and was silent, and at last she talked 
to herself aloud: 

"If I had been more brazen, if I hadn't been so scrupulous, I 
could have married you several years ago, my friend. Right after 
Blanche. I'm the only person you've ever really talked to about 
Blanche. Isn't that true?" 

"I suppose it is." 

"And how she made fun of you and hurt you? Maybe you 
like to get hurt. You're going about getting hurt again in just 
the right way. Now don't tell me that your Virginia wouldn't 
want to hurt anybody! I'm sure she wouldn't intentionally. It's 
just that all you overimaginative men, who try to combine f anci- 
fulness with being clock-watching executives, are fated to be 
hurt, unless you love some kind-hearted, sloppy, adoring woman 
like me the born mistress! Well, as Dad always said, 'Nun, so 
geht's.' Good night." 

He would not run after her, and before he had stalked out 
to the automobile entrance, she had driven away, in her fast, 
canary-colored coupe\ He stood frozen, realizing that he was 
free of his past. 



76 



An Assemblage of Husbands and Wives 



DROVERS AND HAVOCKS 

ROY DROVER was born on a farm just at the edge of Grand Re- 
public, and his father was at once a farmer and a veterinarian. 

When Roy was a medical student at the University of Min- 
nesota, a beer-drinker and a roarer by night but by day a 
promising dissecter, he met the tall and swaying Lillian Smith, 
daughter of a stationer who was refined, tubercular, and poor. 
He saw that here was the finest flower he was likely ever to ac- 
quire for the decoration of a successful doctor's drawing-room. 
Also, it tickled his broad fancy to think of seducing ( even if he 
could do it only legally ) anything so frail and sweet as Lillian. 

She was overwhelmed by him, though she did break off the 
engagement once when he used a certain four-letter word. He 
reasonably pointed out, however, that either she did not know 
what the word meant, in which case she could not be shocked, 
or else she did know, in which case she must have got over being 
shocked some time ago. She was conquered, though for years 
afterward she worried about that logic. 

By the time they had been married for five years and Roy 
had practised for seven, Lillian's father was bankrupt, and Roy 
had the daily pleasure of telling her that, though her "old man 
might be so cultured and polite, he was mighty glad to get 
eighty bucks a month from his roughneck son-in-law." That 
pleasure continued for years after her father had died. At medi- 
cal conventions or among strangers in a West Coast Florida 
hotel, Roy would jovially shout, "My ancestors were Vermont 
hill-billies, but my ball-and-chain comes from the best stock in 
Massachusetts such a good stock that it's got pernicious ane- 
mia, and IVe always had to give it a few injections of gold." 

He continued to feel physical passion for Lillian as well as 
for every gum-chewing hoyden that he picked up on his trips to 
Chicago, and for a number of his chattier women patients. Per- 
haps his continued zest came from the fact that it amused him 
to watch his wife shiver and reluctantly be conquered. To her, 

77 



the whole business of sex had become a horror related to dark 
bedrooms and loud breathing. Sometimes in the afternoon, 
when Lillian was giving coffee to quiet women like the Avon- 
dene girls or the Methodist minister's wife, Roy would come 
rampaging in, glare at her possessively, growl "H'are yuh" at 
the guests in a way which said he wished they would get out of 
this, and as soon as they had twittered away, he would rip down 
the zipper of her dress. 

She often thought about suicide, but she was too blank of 
mind. She was always reading the pink-bound books of New 
Thought leaders, those thick-haired and bass-voiced prophets 
who produce theatrical church-services in New York theaters, 
and tell their trembling female parishioners that they can ac- 
complish anything they wish if they Develop the Divine Will 
Power and Inner Gifts. . . . Sometimes Roy threw these books 
into the furnace. 

Lillian never contradicted him. She was mute even when he 
teased her about her dislike for having dead mallards or 
pheasants drip blood on her dress when she went hunting with 
him. 

At the beginning of our history, the Drovers had been married 
for thirteen years. They had two sons, William Mayo and John 
Erdmann Drover, aged eleven and nine. Lillian was devoted 
to them, often looked at them sadly, as though they were 
doomed. She begged them to listen while she read aloud from 
Kenneth Grahame and her own girlhood copy of "The Birds' 
Christmas Carol," but the boys protested, "Aw, can that old- 
fashioned junk, Mum. Pop says it's panty-waist. Read us the 
funnies in the paper, Mum." 

Like their father, the boys enjoyed killing things killing 
snakes, frogs, ducks, rats, sparrows, feeble old neighborhood 
cats. 

When Roy and the boys were away, she stayed alone in a 
shuttered room, in a house that rustled with hate, in a silence 
that screamed, alone with a sullen cook and a defiant maid. She 
did not read much, but she did read that all women are 
"emancipated" and can readily become "economically inde- 
pendent." She was glad to learn that. 

78 



Roy and Lillian were often cited by Diantha Marl as "one 
of the happiest couples, the most successful marriages, in 
Grand Republic; just as affectionate as the Zagos, but not so 
showy about it." 

The same authority, Diantha, publicly wondered whether 
Boone and Queenie Havock, though by 1941 they had been 
married for thirty-five years, would not "bust up," as the tech- 
nical phrase was. When, at their rich parties, Queenie got high 
and screamed that Boone was a "chippie-chasing, widow-rob- 
bing old buzzard," he frequently slapped her. She was almost 
as large as he and even louder, and she retorted spiritedly by 
spitting at him, and sometimes when he was entertainin'g 
Eastern Financiers or other visiting royalty, she yelled at him, 
"Oh, shutzen Sie die mouth," which she believed to be German. 

But in private, with their great arms about each other, these 
shaggy gods sat up all night making fun of their neat neighbors, 
drinking and shouting and cackling like pirates. When Boone 
was almost indicted for stealing one hundred thousand acres 
of Eastern Montana prairie, Queenie joyfully announced, '111 
come cook for you in jail, you cutthroat !" 

He answered admiringly, "You probably will, too, you cata- 
maran, but if you get any more finger-marks on my Cesar 
Franck symphony records, I'll bust your ole head open." 

Dr. Roy Drover often said, "My experience is that it's all 
nonsense to say that marriage is difficult just because of com- 
plicated modern life on top of the fundamental clashes between 
the sexes. Yessir! It's all perfectly easy, if the husband just 
understands women and knows how to be patient with their 
crazy foibles. You bet!" 



79 



15 



CASS HAD BECOME embarrassed over calling up her boarding- 
house and having Tracy or Wilma answer, "Who do you want? 
Who? Oh. Who wants her? Ohr followed by a. shadow of a 
giggle, and a half -heard: "It's the Judge again. Can you beat it!" 
So in early July, to invite her to the Svithiod Summer Festival, 
at which he would be the guest-speaker and say a lot of enthusi- 
astic things about Swedish-Americans, which might impress a 
girl with a fancy for high words, he wrote a note to her. 

She answered, and for the first time he saw her writing. 

Now to an expert, her script may have looked like that of any 
trained stenographer, correct and round, but to Cass this was a 
secret message from the captive princess in her tower. On the 
envelope, he was "The Hon. Cass Timberlane." His name had 
never looked so stately. Could he really be that monumental 
object to her ? Or, sudden jagged thought, did she consider the 
title pompous? 

Her T was bold, like a knight riding, and the o was precise 
yet sweet, not too unlike a kiss. ( That sentimentality he strongly 
thrust from him, and shamefacedly took back again.) The 
square envelope and the letter-sheet were of good linen, with a 
small square "VM" which, his thumb told him, was printed. 
( Splendid! Engraving would have been extravagant for her. ) 

Of the letter itself, of her first letter to him, he still had not 
read a word. He was shy about it. He might know now whether 
she loved him or considered him a bumbler. Then, breathing 
deep, he plunged: 

"Dear Cass." 

That's good. Not "Dear Judge/' She thinks of me as a 

friend, anyway. Of course "Darling Cass" would have been 
better. 

"Darn it, I have a date for your evening with the Vikings * 

Hard luck. Certainly is hard luck. She won't hear me 
make my speech. I'd hoped she would. Still, her letter is cordial 
oh, it's more than cordial, it's really affectionate. And some 
originality to the writing. Not stilted. 

80 



The letter continued: 

"So I shall not be able to hear you. But I know you will be 
wonderful. Call me up soon. Sincerely yours, Jinny/' 

.She really wants me to go on telephoning herl And she 
signs it "Jinny/* not "Virginia" or "Virginia Marshland." She 
does like mel 

During his first five readings of the masterpiece, he twice 
decided that she liked him, once that she loved him furiously, 
once that this was merely a routine answer with all the ro- 
mantic flavor of payment of a gas-bill, and once that she was 
bored by him and intended, on his evening of oratory, to go 
off dancing with some treacherous swine like Eino Roskinen. 

He did nothing so puerile as to keep the letter in whatever 
pocket was nearest to his heart; he merely thought about it. He 
contented himself with locking it up in the steel box that con- 
tained his will, his passport, a picture of his mother, a certificate 
for a hundred shares of the late Overture Silver Mining Com- 
pany, and a photograph of his former wife, in a 1929 hat, which 
he did not remember owning. 

Hm. Funny-looking hat. I wonder if the present-day hats 

would look just as Lord, I'd forgotten Blanche was so beauti- 
ful. But she looks so calculating and possessive, where Jinny is 
like a living brook. Poor Blanche. Ill bet her new English in-laws 
snub her. Huh! 

He had many walks with Jinny, on Sunday afternoons, and he 
discovered that he did not know the city of which he was. sup- 
posed to be a leader. They found a lath-and-mud slum, with 
starved widows and children living like war-victims upon prop- 
erty belonging to his friend Henry Grannick, second richest 
man in town. On Jinny's initiative, he went for the first time 
in two years into the museum at the Wargate Memorial, which 
was three and three-quarters minutes' walking-time from his 
chambers, and they saw the Indian war-bonnets, the models of 
fur-trader's canoes, and were swollen and proud with their own 
history. 

They chattered all the while. The buffet-supper had given 
them more of a common background, and they talked of "Chris" 

8J 



and "Roy" as well as of "Tracy," for they were true Midwestern- 
ers in referring to everybody up to the age of ninety-eight by 
his given name. 

They were as garrulous as two old friends at the Poor House, 
and all through it he was unceasingly on the point of proposing 
to her, yet never quite daring to. In her bright young ruthless- 
ness, she might dismiss him forever. 

He was constantly stirred up by her iconoclastic though 
slightly second-hand political creeds. As a mild and benevolent 
Republican, who had to be a politician once every six years, 
however little he liked cigars and the histories of Coolidge and 
Harding, he collided with the fact that, early conditioned by 
her father's sympathy with the Farmer-Labor Party, en- 
couraged later by Eino's internationalism, Jinny was Young 
Revolution at the inquiring age. 

As they explored the city's unrecognized slums, she wondered 
aloud about the competence of the Prutts and Grannicks to 
control a city, while she denounced the local "isolationists" and 
insisted that America must join in the war against Germany, 
which had just invaded Russia. 

She was probably disappointed at the readiness with which 
Cass agreed with all her challenges; she was probably unable 
to understand that the Judge Timberlane who seemed to her so 
conservative was considered by his neighbors, by his colleague 
Judge Blackstaff, as a riskily radical young man. 

He agreed that America is only at the beginning of democ- 
racy; that the super-salesman, with the stigmata of his early 
toughness or rusticity blandished away by barber and manicure 
girl, stands with the workman whose face is pitted with soot and 
grease only at the saloon, the polling-booth, and the grave. 

If he was distinctly more lef twing than Jinny thought, he was 
distinctly less so than he thought He innocently considered him- 
self, even after election-day, democratically one with the farmer. 
the section-hand, the pants-presser, yet he had always been so 
occupied with members of the Federal Glub and the dwellers 
on Ottawa Heights that he was as detached from his constitu- 
ents as any country squire. A kind man, a just judge, an honest 
citizen who believed that there must be plenty of public schools 

82 



and no graft in the water supply, he had not yet gone many 
years beyond the Good Old Massa dynasty. And golf at the 
country club is a sweet odor in the nostrils and a dependable 
anesthetic. 

In the fresh air that Jinny always bore about her, he wanted 
to defy his own ancestral cautions. She did not know, possibly 
he did not know, how much he enjoyed cutting loose and being 
more of an outlaw than he was. Later he was to believe that he 
might really have become the rebel whom in these honied 
months he enjoyed impersonating, if Jinny had really been the 
bold economic Amazon she considered herself. It has always 
been the masculine version: "She did not tempt me enough, so 
I did not eat." 

Meantime, more innocent than ever, he made love not 
apropos of swords and roses, but of the poll tax, the school 
system, and German bombers. 

In July she went home to Pioneer Falls for her two-weeks' 
vacation, and he begged for an invitation to come up for three 
days. Her mother wrote to him, welcomingly. 

He had always liked his assignments to hold court at Pioneer 
Falls, county-seat of Mattson County, because from the win- 
dows of the court room he could see the re-echoed heavens of 
Lake Bruin. Here there were none of the wild river valleys 
of the Grand Republic country. The falls of the Sorshay River 
were only three feet high, a sporting ground for minnows. A 
wedge of the old hardwood country had been thrust north- 
ward from the base of the state to Pioneer Falls, and the trees 
were not pine and poplar but oak and maple and ironwood and 
basswood. Most of them had been cleared away by the fine, 
high, destructive industry of the frontiersmen, and the country 
was now an upland wheat prairie, and Pioneer Falls a char- 
acteristic grain-belt village. The streets were flat but sheltered 
by spacious elms and maples that had been planted by the 
Yankee and German settlers. 

\ 

The Marshland house was white and comfortable and simple, 
except for an upstairs balcony with a triangular window behind 
it, and Jinny's father, Lester the druggist, was simple and com- 

83 



fortable, and Mrs. Marshland a darling. They wore baggy 
clothes and loved their friends and they thought that Judge 
Timberlane was a tremendous man and that their "little daugh- 
ter" was a "mighty lucky girl to have him take an interest in 
her and her art career." That he could ever marry her or be her 
lover seemingly did not occur to them. 

He was embarrassed by their friendly desire to have him hold 
forth like a pedagogue upon her talents and her unpunctuality, 
to have him give her measured advice about how to become a 
real big-city cartoonist or a dress designer. He was even more 
embarrassed by the fact that Mr. and Mrs. Marshland were only 
fifty-three or -four, somewhat nearer to his own age than was 
Jinny. He kept hinting that he belonged to her generation, not 
theirs, but Jinny bedeviled him by mocking, at family dinner 
(fried chicken and asparagus and peas from our own garden), 
"I wish you three would now straighten me out about the Polish 
question and the use of lipstick." 

"Don't play with your food, Jinx," said Mrs. Marshland 
fondly, at every meal. 

Cass and Jinny picnicked on a bluff overlooking Lake Bruin, 
in an old pasture of short worn grass and scattered oaks. Their 
table was a slab of rock, splashed orange with lichens; their 
divan the springy moss. They were idle and relaxed and in love, 
and they did play with their food, with the hard-boiled eggs, the 
finger rolls, the lemon-meringue pie eaten with fingers which 
were vulgarly wiped on the flower-starred moss. 

He looked like a woodsman, in laced boots and breeches and 
mackinaw shirt of black and red and yellow. She wore moc- 
casin shoes, with slacks, but she made up for it by wearing a 
tight sweater. 

Reclining on the moss, replete and exquisitely sleepy, he 
argued, "Put your head on my shoulder." 

She looked mute and sulky; then she rubbed her cheek against 
his shoulder and lay still. His arm was about her and it may have 
been by accident that his hand touched the unbelievable 
smoothness of her naked waist under the sweater. He snatched 
ills hand away, but his finger-tips kept the memory of that 
living satin, the tender warmth of her soft side. In some panic 

84 



he knew that he was afraid of her and shocked by himself, but 
he protested, "Don't be such a prude. Of course you love touch- 
ing her. That's what it's all about/' 

But any ideas he might have had about trying to betray her 
seemed wondrously absurd. 

He slipped his hand again about her unbodiced waist, and 
she let it lie there warmly a moment before she detached it, 
gentle and unoffended. And that was all that happened of 
fleshly love-making. Yet now, with her head against his shoul- 
der, they had been converted, united, sanctified. 

"Darling!" he said only, and kissed her lightly, and her head 
settled back in contentment. 

It was a poet, not a very skillful one, who began talking: 

"Dear Jinny, do you know how lovely you are to me? I love 
your eyes and your hairit's very reckless today and it smells 
so newly washed and I love your childish fingers do you sup- 
pose that indelible*ink spot will ever come off? and I love your 
riotous and pretty undependable humor and your curiosity, like 
Cleo's, about everything, and your honesty and your disinterest 
in money-making and your talisman, your crystal Isis did you 
bring her back to Pioneer Falls?" 

"Certainly. Wrapped in a lovely nightgown. She insisted on 
coming. She's as fascinated by men and their line as I am." 

"You don't think I'm merely following a line' in what I say, 
do you?" 

"No! I think you're dear and good, and I think you really 
like me." 



They said nothing about being engaged, but like children 
they made plans, 

"Know what I'd like us to do, soon as the war between Great 
Britain and Germany is over?" he urged. "Sail for Norway and 
Sweden, which are the source of so much of the lif e around here, 
and then go through Finland and dip down into Central Europe 
and up to Moscow and then China and especially India. IVe 
always been crazy to see India, since I read Kipling as a boy." 

"Wond'ful." 

"And then we'll come back here and get settled down. Well 

85 



live in Grand Republic in the summer and fall most beautiful 
Indian Summers in the world and have our winters in Beverly 
Hills and Havana and Rio de Janeiro/' 

"So we're just going to be hoboes and wasters, are we?" 

"Sure in our dreams. Look here, comrade, have we got to 
have social significance even in our dreams?" 

*I think I'll have to get a ruling on that. Meanwhile, what 
are we doing all this on?" 

"Can't I just as well dream myself two million dollars and a 
year's leave from the bench, while I'm about it?" 

"You're so heroic in our dreams." 

"Plans okay then?" 

"Approved. Cass, maybe we really could do some of those 
things, even without being rich." 

"Certainly." 

"But why is it that nobody ever does do any of the things 
that he's free to do?" 

In that counsel of doom he was suddenly frightened out of 
his spurious boyishness, and clutched her hand, as if to protect 
her. 

They silently looked out from the shadowing oaks to the 
summer-enchanted lake. The farther shore was swampy and 
in the July light was a gold-streaked utter green, with black- 
birds bending down the reeds. There was peace over all the 
land, and their fear melted, and suddenly she was telling him, 
as she* never had, of her childhood in the white house in the 
prairie village: 

a l was such a serious kid, always so busy. I had to keep track 
of everything. I had note-books and note-books; I put down the 
temperature of my dolls, every day, like a hospital chart, and all 
the bright things they said I made 'em up, only sometimes I 
stole 'em from the other kids. And I collected birds' eggs and 
made the most elaborate notes 'on just which tree I'd found 
them in I drew plans of the trees, with lovely arrows pointing. 
I was sure that some day those notes would be terribly impor- 
tant to some ornithologist. I suppose I'm still the greatest living 
authority on snipe around Peterson's Slew. 

"And then as fast as I learned a hymn in Sunday School I 

86 



was a Congregationalist, like you I wrote it down on a card, 
with my notations about what words to come down hard on, like 
'Bringing in the sheaves' only, I thought it was sheets. 

"I didn't have any brothers or sisters, so they let me have 
the attic all to myself, and up there I was the busiest man of 
affairs, rushing from one thing to another: arranging my world- 
collection of fans, two paper ones and one lace, and my gallery 
of movie stars, and polishing a brass handle to something I 
found it by the road, and to this day I don't know what it was 
for and writing down the name of every new language that I 
heard of. I got up to sixty-seven, and I intended to learn them 
all, including Swahili and Liukiu. 

"And then petsour old cat, Percival, and a lot of other cat! 
and dogs and rabbits and a pet squirrel and a very inapprecia- 
tive garter snake. I used to have an animal drug store and try 
to cure all their ailments with sugar-water. I don't think I was 
so successful. 

"Maybe a lot of the things that 1 did were to educate the little 
blue Bromo Seltzer bottle, the forerunner of my Isis, that I 
sneaked out and took everywhere so it could see what was 
going on. Oh, I must have been almost as silly at ten as I am now. 

"And I took lessons on the mandolin. I could play 'Down 
Mobile* and the Russian national anthem on it. I was so busy 
and so secret. Nobody ever knew; Dad and Mother were swell 
about not prying. And sometimes I had the most money that 
ever was an entire penny. I would go into Dad's store and he 
would pretend he didn't know me, and he would advise me, 
very earnestly, and you'd be surprised how many kinds of candy 
you could get then for a penny: maybe one red and two striped 
and a licorice lozenge. I'll never have that much money again, 



never/' 



"No, there never are any pennies like that after you are ten," 
said Cass. "And now you're as old as I am. I used to think of you 
as eons younger, but now I feel as though we were die same 
age, except that you aren't so cautious." 

"And I think of you, Cass, as just my age, except that you 
have more sense." 

With an absorbed I-want-to-think expression, she wandered 

87 



off, along the shore, and he watched her sleepily. She looked 
mature and thoughtful, till, throwing up her arms, she started 
violently hop-skipping, all by herself, singing what sounded 
like a jazz version of Celeste Aida, and then she seemed to be 
all of ten again, and he reached into his pocket for a penny to 
give her. 



16 



AFTER THE BUFFET-SUPPER for Jinny, his sister Rose and Gregory 
Marl said, "What a nice girl that was; like to see her again," but 
Cass wondered that more people did not comment. He need 
not have wondered; they did. 

Everybody in town it being understood that everybody-in- 
town includes some three hundred persons out of the 85,000 
discussed Jinny, by telephone, by letter, over the directors' table, 
or at the Paul Bunyan Bar. But they did not reveal this to Cass, 
for he was a man not overfond of being tickled in the ribs. 

But after he had ventured to Pioneer Falls, before he had yet 
pressed, in a volume of Supreme Court digests, the buttercup 
that Jinny had given him, then everybody concluded that they 
must rush in and rescue him. 

He was to play bridge at Boone Havock's, and before the 
fourth player, Eve Champeris, arrived, Boone and Queenie, 
with her voice like a flat trolley-wheel, set out to save him with 
the solicitude of a couple of pigs eating their young. That they 
had never yet seen Jinny made them no less authoritative. 

Boone struck: 

"Sit down, Cass, and take a load off your feet. Have a snort? 
Don't be a fool; of course you will. Now, Cass, I want you to 
listen to me and don't go interrupting and shooting off your 
mouth just because you think you're such a high-brow and a 
judge and all that junk while me, I never got through fifth grade. 
You haven't any better friends in the world than me and 
Queenie." 

"You're damn tootin'," confirmed Queenie, then remembered 
that she was being refined and humanitarian this evening, and 

88 



caroled, "Are we ever! Oh boy, 111 say we are! A lot of bums 
are always yessing you, Cass, because you're in politics, but me 
and Boone are good-enough friends to tell you the truth. You 
know. For your own good/' 

Cass had really come over to play bridge, not to have things 
done for his good, and he was not a meek man. But he was 
their neighbor, he was used to them, and in a frontier civiliza- 
tion you are not offended by a neighbor if he does nothing worse 
than throw tomahawks. He listened to Boone with only a slight 
biliousness. 

"Cass, what's all this we hear about your going nuts over 
some fifth-rate stenographer?" 

"Some low-grade tart on the make/' added Queenie, virtu- 
ously. After all, Queenie had some background for her opinions 
on lowness. Her father had kept some of the best saloons in 
Northern Minnesota. 

"I don't know what you two are talking about, unless you 
mean Miss Marshland, a brilliant young artist in whose career I 
have become slightly interested." 

" 'Slightly' is good!" jeered Queenie. 

Boone roared, "I don't suppose you take her out to that gyp^ 
joint, the Unstable, more than three times a week!" 

"I do not!" 

"I don't suppose her and you were snooping around those 
tenements on South Greysolon Avenue! You didn't tell each 
other they were 'a disgrace/ and 'somebody ought to do some- 
thing about 'em!' Well, I own those tenements, and if you want 
'em I'll be glad to give 'em to you and see what you can do with 
*em! Lot of Finns and Communists and Poles and Svenskas in 
there, never pay their rent and use the banisters for firewood! 
But let that pass. I'm so used to trying to do something for this 
community and never get one word of thanks that I don't even 
pay any attention to a lot of Red bellyaching, and I don't care 
what you said about Havock Haven. But I do care when I see 
an old friend making a fool of himself over a cute little gold- 
digger that just hangs around to see what she can get out of 
himand then probably goes back to the boy-friend and they 
laugh their heads off at the old goat!" 

89 



Cass broke. 

"I wouldn't let you talk like this even if what you said were 
true, but it isn't. Miss Marshland is decidedly a lady. No, that's 
a bloodless word she's an angel." 

"Sweet little gold angel with blood in her eye!" screamed 
Queenie. 

"You sleeping with her?" Boone grunted. 

"I am notl And even if " 

"Now don't go and get gentlemanly on us, son. We're only 
trying to help you. You made a portion of a horse of yourself 
before, marrying that high-hat Minneapolis -snob with her phony 
Boston accent, and we don't want you to do it again." 

Cass must have said something confused and not impressive, 
for Boone was unsquelched. 

"There'd be some excuse for this new girl if you were doing 
a little advanced necking with her, but if you're thinking about 
marrying her a cutie half your age " 

"She is not!" 

" that has an idea it would be swell to be Mrs. Judge 

F C7 

Timberlane, and expects you to stay up all night and dance 
with her, or sit around and watch her dance with the younger 
guys, why, then you're a worse fool than I thought you were, 
and I've always rated you pretty high in damn foolishness ever 
since you gave up what might of become *a fifty-thousand-dollar 
law-practice to sit on your dignity on the bench." 

Queenie neighed, "Now you listen to me. A woman's heart 
knows. None of these young girls want to be of any help to 
their husbands. They just get married for the excitement of it 
and for what they can get out of it, the little tramps, and so 
immodest showing their knees! If you got to get married, Cass 
and I don't see why; ain't there any lady clerks that know 
the answers in your court house? then why don't you pick 
out some dame of thirty-five that'll stay home and take care 
of you, like I would?" 

He did not, as he longed to then and all through the ordeal 
of bridge, slap them and walk out. But for a year it broke his 
habit of the Havocks. 

"He's spoiled touchy as a pregnant woman," said Queenie 

90 



Havock to Eve Champeris, who said it to Chris who said it to 
Cass who said it to himself. 

He expected Roy Drover to be even more boisterous than 
the Havocks, but Roy, when he caught Cass in the quiet read- 
ing-room of the Federal Club, sounded like a physician, com- 
petent and impersonal: 

"Son, I hear youVe fallen for that pretty little monkey you 
brought to the Country Club. It's none of my business, but why 
don't you try some ugly woman with a lot of passion, instead of 
one of these anemic kids? They haven't any gratitude. I take it 
for granted you don't intend to marry this chick her a rank 
outsider, that none of us know. You're not that haywire!" 

Cass tried to believe afterward that his retorts to Boone and 
Roy and two or three other foul impugners and mongers had 
been in the manner of a stately "Sir!" followed by a challenge. 
It is doubtful. That would not have gone well with Radisson 
County duck-hunters, especially when they loved him enough 
to risk his wrath. 

The one gentle effort at his salvation was that of Stella Avon- 
dene Wrenchard. 

The Avondenes were a Family, fond and unshakable. They 
were impoverished aristocracy who were unconcerned about it 
so long as they could be together in their old whitewashed 
brick house. The head of the family, Verne Avondene, had been 
born, in Grand Republic, to a million dollars in timberlands 
which had been acquired, possibly honestly, by his grandfather, 
the great Indian agent, who seems in the histories to have had 
no Christian name other than "Colonel." Verne went to Yale and 
the English Cambridge and was just looking into diplomatic 
careers when the family money blew up. He did not complain; 
the game had been worth any golden candle, and he had a com- 
forting knowledge of Balzac and Monet and Old English 
balladry, even if he could not earn more than thirty-five dollars 
a week. 

That sum he received in the insurance office of Scott Zago, 
where he was respectfully entitled "office manager," meaning 
clerk and assistant bookkeeper. 

91 



His wife, still slim and beautiful at sixty-five, said that Verne 
was the greatest gentleman, the most gallant lover, and the most 
amusing companion in Grand Republic, and she was a fair 
judge. 

Their two daughters lived with them. Stella had married an 
engineer, Tom Wrenchard, but had been widowed by an acci- 
dent within the year, and come home. Her marriage had been 
so brief that most people forgot it, and she was usually called 
"Miss Stella Avondene." She taught domestic science in the 
Alexander Hamilton High School. Her spinster older sister, 
Pandora, gentle and affectionate and given to flowers and sketch- 
ing and playing the piano, which under her mild fingers sounded 
like a spinet, was in charge of the children's department at the 
public library. Both girls treated their parents as their equals, 
and the low white brick house was full of fudge, cats, new 
novels, Delius, water-colors, charades, omelets, and other 
people's children. 

Stella had always thought well of marrying Cass, but had 
stayed home from hunting in loyalty to Chris Grau. Now, she 
invented a lovely theory: Chris had, probably for discreditable 
reasons, jilted Cass, who in wan loneliness had turned to some 
pretty girl or other who had no virtues. Except in a state of 
solitary madness, a steady man like Cass could never marry out 
of Our Class, that ancient aristocracy of Grand Republic, hoary 
with tradition, which had been going on now for more than 
seventy-five years. 

Stella wanted to save him. 

The Avondenes had him in for supper. As they had a maid 
only when Verne had had a lucky bet on the racesthe last time 
had been in 1939 they did all the housework, and they let Cass 
help them wash the dishes (which he did unexpectedly well, 
being a camper) while they all sang "Sweet and Low." Then 
Stella mended the lining of his coat, poor girl. As his own house- 
keeper, Mrs. Higbee, was very inspective and efficient about 
that sort of thing, he suspected that Stella had made the small 
rip in the lining herself, and he loved her for it. 
, He might have married Stella then. Perhaps he should have 
married Stella, and grown peaceful to the point of Double 

92 



Solitaire, but it happened that either Cod or Cass Timberlane 
had made of Jinny Marshland the eternal image of beauty walk* 
ing with silver feet the waves of dawn. Dear Stella Avondene, 
teaching in your Sunday-school class at St. Anselm's, and smil- 
ing, in the white kid gloves you cleaned at home, singing and 
a little sad and very kind. You will never walk the waves at 
dawn. Dear Stellal 

He heard something of the town rumors about Jinny. Ap- 
parently Mrs. Webb Wargate had said that, though she honored 
Judge Timberlane and would probably receive any ragtag of a 
wife that he might drag in, yet she was regretful that such 
a man should be planning to marry a girl whose real name was 
Marshandsky, whose father was a drunken teamster on the 
Range, who had been a waitress in the Pineland Hotel and an 
itinerant hired girl, and who was in general a threat to the 
Best People of Grand Republic, so intimately related to the Best 
People of Albany and Philadelphia and Hartford. 

The early Minnesota had its families with the correct and 
rigid manners, the Emersonian scholarship, of New England, 
with an annotated Horace and a frivolous fiddle lying upon the 
pious parlor organ. It had its Romans like General Sibley and, 
in Grand Republic, the Avondenes and Grannicks. But lesser 
and brisker tribes like the Wargates had taken their togas. 

Cass considered the Wargate peerage. 

Old Dexter Wargate had started out in Minnesota in 1881 by 
conducting a hardware-store and selling nails across the counter 
to lumberjacks and half-breeds. He had married the daughter 
of Simon Eisenherz, from Pennsylvania, who had come to 
Minnesota in 1854, to acquire furs from the Indians in exchange 
for brass pots and bootleg whisky, with some effect upon the 
number of murdered white settlers, before he discovered how 
to steal millions of acres of timberland. 

Cass was not pleased when a family founded upon a whisky 
keg in a log cabin felt superior to a girl crooning over her 
collection of three fine fans in a village attic, secret and eager 
and alone so alone and helpless against the chatter at tha 
cocktail-hour. 

93 



He had only one moment of treachery to Jinny: when he 
Wondered whether to others she was as clearly divine as she 
was to him. He remembered that the Juliet Zago who to him was 
a wiggling nuisance was a fair young thing to her Scott, and 
that Boone Havock seemingly felt no distress when his wife 
yelled like a buzz-saw. Were there barbarians who might think 
that his Jinny had a touch of the Zago whimsy, with her circu- 
latory Isis? To him, she would forever be a flame, but could 
his friends see her glory? 

He was aware that Jinny had a temper. She was, he thought, 
unconscious of what the Havocks and Wargates whispered, but 
iffshe learned it, he was certain that she would reject him along 
with all his clansmen forever. He had not planned to venture 
upon any talk of marriage until they should have had a year 
of building up a common background. But he felt now that he 
must not risk her discovery of the gossip till she should be 
bound to him, protected by him, and on an August evening 
when he was to take her to the movies, he drove irresolutely 
toward her boarding-house with the nervous intention of pro- 
posing to her. 

The living-room at Miss Hatter's was empty. When Jinny 
appeared, ten minutes late as usual, he sat in the preposterous 
patent-rocker of 1890, and ventured, "I think we've done all 
the traditional things that lovers do, even moonlight and picnic 
by a brook, up to a point." 

"But we aren't lovers, Cass." 

"We might be." 

"M." 

"So I want you to come sit on my lap." 

"Oh, dear no. That's very outmoded and reactionary, Judge." 

"You sit on my lap!" 

She did. He felt the pleasure of her body's closeness, but he 
found that he was remarkably uncomfortable. She was heavier 
than she looked, and there was extreme danger that the rickety 
chair would fall over sidewise. He wished that he could think 
of some polite way of telling her that it would be all right now 
if she went over and sat on the couch. She sighed blissfully and 

94 



moved closer and his fingers tightened on her knee, and he was 
at once in ecstasy and conscious that his right leg was cramped. 

In that mingled state he said quietly, "Darling, you know 
how I want to marry you." 

"M." 

"We must be married, and soon." 

Silent. 

"Will you?" 

Silent and motionless. 

"Jinny! Please!" 

She spoke as quietly as he, with no tint of blushing in her 
voice. "No, Cass, it's impossible." 

"Why?" 

"We could never make a go of it. Fm terribly fond of you, 
maybe I'm a little in love with you, but if we were married, it 
would be too much of a strain." 

"Difference in age?" 

"Oh, you're not so much older. I've almost fallen in love with 
men much older than you one antiquated buzzard of fifty, in 
Pioneer Falls when I was a kid an evangelist he was, and was 
he full of It! No. You're really younger than Tracy or Eino or 
that Curtiss Havock lug; there's something awfully young and 
touching about you. But I never could stand your set, not even 
your sister, though she's nice, or that caramel sundae, Mr. Criley. 
They're all a bunch of furnace-regulators, and they talk about 
their Middlewestern Hospitality but none of them invite Mr. 
Fliegend to their houses. I couldn't do it, I honestly couldn't 
But " 

She was actually traditional enough to wind up with, "But 
let's be the best of friends." 

He pushed back her chin with angry fingers and kissed her 
angrily, and she relaxed to it; a kiss long and confessing. Then, 
to his shock and to the danger of his flopping over in the patent- 
rocker, she sprang from his lap and stood smoothing her hair, 
murmuring, "Somebody * 

There were footsteps. By the time Eino Roskinen came in, 
Jinny was sedately sitting on the couch and Cass had straight- 
ened his summertime blue bow-tie. 

95 



Jinny twittered, "Oh, Eino, the Judge wants to hear about the 
new state dairy regulations. He was just asking me." 

Eino was distressingly informed and accurate, and he pro- 
duced a fireworks-display of figures until Cass, to his annoy- 
ance, really became interested. But he felt flat and baffled. 
How could he persuade Jinny of the joys of a life-time of 
furnace-regulation? He bravely put her out of his mind forever 
forever until they sat at the movie and her hand slipped un- 
asked into his. 

So the lover started all over again his daily task of being 
crushed. 

17 

HE HAD, for Jinny, dinner at his house, with Rose and Donald 
Pe/inloss and Abbott and Hortense Hubbs. Cleo went mad try- 
ing to take care of them all. 

Rose informed Cass, after dinner, "I do like your Marshland 
girl. She's the cleverest of all your girls." 

"What girls?" 

"Oh, you know. How would I know? And Cass, she's so 
pretty!" Then Cass loved his sister, whom he had not infre- 
quently considered a nuisance. 

He had persuaded Jinny to bring in a portfolio of her Fliegend 
Toy drawings, that his friends might see that Miss Jinny was 
not only the most beautiful but the most talented young woman 
living, and he pressed them on Hubbs. 

Abbott Hubbs was the neurotic, young-old newspaperman 
who hated newspapers, who drank too much and smoked too 
many cigarettes and was too snappishly cynical, and in the 
privacy of his meager home, read poetry aloud to his wife, who 
loved and slapped and, during hangovers, nursed him. He was 
always shaky, dropping cigarette ashes on everything: a thin, 
wizened, black-haired, extraordinarily honest and generous 
man, a victim of the days of war-bulletins and smug syndicated 
columns and cameras and high finance in newspapers. 

Jinny had prepared sketches for a pasteboard political Punch 
and Judy show. Hubbs looked at her piggish Mussolini, her 

96 



melancholy Hitler, her bulldog Churchill, her mocking Roose- 
velt, and he cried, shaking ashes all over the sketches, These 
are fine, these are mighty fine. Jinny, could I take some of 'em 
and show 'em to Greg Marl, at the paper?" 

Cass noted, along with his pride in this discovery of Jinny's 
genius, that this was the first time that any of his friends had 
addressed her as "Jinny." 

Next day, Gregory Marl, large and soft and diplomatic, spoke 
to him at the Federal Club. 

"We think well of Miss Marshland's drawings at the Banner 
office, Cass, and we're losing our cartoonist He's going to enlist 
in the Army thinks America will get into the war, maybe by 
the middle of 1942." 

"You don't believe that, do you, Greg?" 

"Oh, no, not a chance. We'll go on furnishing supplies to Eng- 
land, but we'll never enter the war." 

"Maybe we ought to." 

"Maybe but we won't. But you never can persuade these 
crazy youngsters like my cartoonist. So I would like to talk to 
Miss Marshland. Does she understand reproduction processes?" 

"Must working at Fliegend's." 

"Confidentially, do you know what they're paying her?" 

"Uh thirty-five a week." 

"Uh I guess the Banner could hike that to forty-five." 

Cass told himself that he was pleased that she could command 
all this wealth. 

When Jinny went worrying to Lucius Fliegend about the 
Banner offer, Lucius insisted on her taking this nobler job. 

On her last afternoon at the factory, in late August, they gave 
Jinny a riotous party, with speeches by Mr. Fliegend, R. Ogden 
Hathawick, the shipping clerk, the society reporter of the Grand 
Republic Banner, and District Judge Cass Timberlane. 

Her first cartoon for the Banner depicted an American eagle 
meditatively though rather acrobatically scratching its beak 
with a claw, as it gazed at a two-headed eagle with two crowns. 
Spirited and original, felt Cass, and he made it the occasion 
for taking her to dinner at the Unstable. 

97 



Where hitherto she had worked on the Southwest Side, now 
her office was in the center of town, only three and a half blocks 
from the court house, and as his fall term opened, Cass was de- 
manding that she lunch with him, at Charley's or Oscar's or the 
Pineland or the Ladies' Annex of the Federal, at least three days 
a week. But she, who a month ago had been a flying-haired 
working girl with gingerbread and an apple for lunch in a 
flowery pasteboard box, was now a gray-suited, demurely 
coiffed young career-woman, and Cass was heavy with worry 
and a certain jealousy as he found that she had no longer to de- 
pend on him to meet the Important Factors in the Commercial 
and Professional Life of Our City, but was invited to lunch by 
Abbott Hubbs, Curtiss Havock, Fred Nimbus, the announcer, 
and Dick Wolke, the jeweler. When he met her now, it was as 
likely to be she who had the "inside track on the news" she 
called it thatnews about Norton Trock's extra-legal specula- 
tions or Bernice Claywheel's lovers or the more secret plans of 
the Turkish Army. 

To his tenderness for her Cass added wondering admiration 
of her knowledge. She knew just how much false hair Madge 
Dedrick wore, and precisely what plans, in a secluded tent on 
the African desert, British agents were making. . . . Hubbs 
had told her, and Cass mustn't let it go any further. 

She reported all her professional triumphs, and Cass was 
proud but worried, as they walked in the chilly September eve- 
nings, with the first of the Northern Lights like a gigantic glass 
chandelier swaying in the ceiling of the heavens. 

He was in a trance of absolute love, and such practicalities as 
marriage seemed trivial. He wanted nothing except what she 
might want. His responsibility as a judge, his devotion to his 
friends, his zest in hunting and swimming, his reverence for 
learning, these must remain in him, for they were indestructible 
parts of him, but they were minor and obvious facts, not worth 
noting, compared with his worship for this slight, swift-walking 
girl. 

But he did not think of her only in terms of divinity, of altars 
and silver wings. He hoarded a bus-transfer ticket that had 

98 



been crumpled in her hot hand, a pencil sketch of himself which 
she had made on a paper napkin. 

The Quiet Mind that he had always sought he had found now 
in Jinny's cool presence. She was to him not lovely flesh alone, 
though wholesomely and urgently she was that as well, but 
peace and reality. With her, he might never accomplish strange 
adventures, but with her the commonplace life of a Grand Re- 
public lawyer might become as beautiful as sunrise on a prairie 
slew. 

The rumor that "Judge Timberlane has fallen for some skirt 
or other and is going to get hitched" had spread from Ottawa 
Heights to the distant wilderness fully five minutes' drive away, 
where dwelt nobody at all except the clerks and f actoiy workers 
and repairmen and women and children who made up nine- 
tenths of the population of Grand Republic. 

Into the mind of everyone who wanted everyone else to do 
something beneficial for all the rest of the people and do it right 
away came the same inspiration. If Judge Timberlane was going 
to be married again, and apparently this time to a tempting 
little piece who would keep him absorbed, then he would be less 
affable about giving contributions, making speeches, sitting on 
committees, signing broadsides, and listening to the local Adam 
Smiths read aloud, from mimeographed sheets, their plans to 
bring about international peace by having the Lenin Institute 
of Moscow, the University of Berlin, and the University of In- 
diana combine. They must get to him at once, and if George 
Hame had not been agile at the corridor door of the Judge's 
chambers, they probably would have done so. 

They had to be content with writing to him, though they 
would have preferred to bolt in and shout, "I know you're a 
busy man and I just want three minutes of your time," and then 
stay for three eloquent hours. 

Daily Cass had letters from organizations to keep us out of 
the war, to get us into the war, to support the labor unions, the 
manufacturers' unions, the farmers' unions, and the Dickens 
Fellowship, and crusades to glorify the American mother or to 
persuade her to stop talking. 

99 



He felt guilty about all of them but instead of answering 
them, now, he went out to lunch with Jinny. 

He had little of her fantastic imagination, whereby, in her 
Banner cartoons, Rumania became a sinister cat like her own 
Isis, but he nourished that imagination in her, along with every 
happiness and tranquility. He looked at her cartoons even be- 
fore the European war headlines or the court notices, and when 
she had failed, as unfortunately she frequently did, he winced, 
and prayed for her success. Oh, yes, he did sometimes pray, to 
a Liberal Congregational God who was interested in world 
peace and the welfare of share-croppers. 

He walked with Jinny, they played poker at Miss Hatter's 
Tracy Oleson had the astuteness about straights to be expected 
from a Wargate Corporation man and once, when a carnival 
came to town, Cass and Jinny attended it and shot rifles at clay 
ducks and had their weights guessed and their photograph 
taken, arm in arm. 

In the belief that she had enjoyed somewhat rowdy sports 
like bowling with Eino and Tracy, Cass conceived it to be his 
duty to show himself boisterous, and he rode the merry-go- 
round with her, boldly reaching for the brass ring, while the 
electors of Radisson County stood in a circle yelling, "Ride 'em, 
Judge" and "Good boy, Judge; you got it." He looked tri- 
umphantly at Jinny, on a gold and aquamarine unicorn beside 
him, but her face was compressed and disapproving. 

He got off the merry-go-round as soon as possible. "I thought 
you'd enjoy roughhousing with me," he puzzled. 

"It isn't dignified. Nor for a judge." 

"But I thought you didn't like it when I was too dignified." 

"I don't, but still People recognizing you and staring at 

you cutting up monkeyshines! Your own constituents!" 

"Why, Jinny, I gained five votes for my next election every 
time they saw me go round!" 

"Yes maybe but still " 

He had thought that in Blanche he had encountered all the 
feminine unreasonableness there was to know. The student of 
precedents sighed, "Overruled again." 

100 



The first occasion on which they were invited out together 
was a dinner given by Rose Pennloss, with the playful Zagos, 
that glittering semi-bachelor Jay Laverick and, to Cass's quak- 
ing, Chris Grau. 

The Pennloss house was as neat as a shop-window and as 
comfortable as a hotel and no more affectionate than either. The 
living-room, scientifically the right size for a family of three, 
was filled with maple reproductions of Colonial furniture, on 
a machine-made handmade rug, with a New Art wallpaper de- 
picting, with liberties, the environs of Boston, all highly clean 
and shining, with one relieving vulgarity in a rubbed red- 
leather couch on which Don took his naps. The excellent dinner, 
cooked by the excellent Swedish maid and served on excellent 
china that, in a fainting gray, showed the major churches of 
New England, tasted as the fine maple furniture looked. 

To Cass, social dinners were likely to be either hellish or dull. 
This was hellish. 

But Chris Grau, now first coming on Jinny and him as a recog- 
nized couple, was cordial, was easily generous. She asked Cass 
about the health of Cleo, and she said to Jinny, "I look at your 
cartoons every day, Miss Marshland. I think they are extremely 
clever/' 

As he heard this, Cass suddenly knew that they were not par- 
ticularly clever, and he felt bleak. 

He kept babbling, and Rose had a sorry tale of how little the 
Reverend Dr. Gadd appreciated her spiritual yearnings, and the 
Zagos bounced about and waved the stalks of vegetables in 
the air, but Jinny was as strong as Chris. She was wordless but 
merry-eyed, and she listened to everybody exactly as though she 
were listening. 

She even kept on smiling when Juliet Zago yelled, "Oh, oop- 
sums, we dot Baked Alaska for dessertumsr 

Rose had thought not badly of Jinny, and looked at her now 
with politeness, but she wanted to know quite a few fundamental 
things about her religious beliefs, her virtue, her opinion of 
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and how cheaply she could 
buv clothes. 

r 

101 



What, fretted Cass, could any man do against the secret hates 
and grudging acceptances of women? 

Not cowards in the windy forests of night can find such jumpy 
fears as any lover. When dinner was over, Rose's daughter, 
Valerie, fifteen and fresh and excited, came in from a movie 
which she and the current boy had been professionally view- 
ing and judging. She clamped on Jinny as the only bright thing 
in this mildewed company. The two girls, twenty-four and fif- 
teen, slipped away and could be heard laughing in the sun- 
room. When Jinny was dragged back, to make up the second 
table of bridge, she looked at Cass sulkily, and he felt like a 
wicked old pasha. 

He was unreasonably irritated that they expected him to be 
grateful to them for accepting as possibly worthy of them the 
young Diana clothed in light. 



102 



An Assemblage of Husbands and Wives 

ROSE AND DON PENNLOSS 

CASS TIMBERLANE never at any time expected the marriage of 
his sister and Don Pennloss to last for three months more. He 
was sorry; he liked them both, and in their informal and imper- 
sonal house he was comfortable. But Rose had ambitions for 
what she called "a richer life/' which meant, to her, music and 
travel and new clothes and being the hostess to visiting lecturers, 
like Diantha Marl, or living in a New York duplex, like Astra 
Wargate, sister-in-law of Webb. 

Her husband liked making love to her, liked having her around 
to play rummy and hear his stories. The trouble, or so Rose 
thought, was that he was common in taste and dull in talk and 
a small dreariness to look at. She could not endure the heavy 
monotone of his voice; he quarreled or made love or said the 
bacon was good or denounced the unions in exactly the same 
basso, without inflections. 

Don was, at forty, a grain-dealer, president of the Aldpen 
Elevator System, and he made nine thousand dollars a year 
and liked carpentry, and when you asked him if he didn't think 
it was a hot afternoon, he told you. Always, invariably, though 
Rose threatened to scream, he had a nap on the red leathefr 
couch when he came home from the office, and invariably he 
announced his purpose by saying, "I think 111 take a little nap 
now." Never a large nap. Never a medium-sized nap. Always a 
little one. And he snored. 

On evenings when they were at home alone, he.turned on the 
radio and let it blast away through music, weather reports, 
lumber-market reports, addresses about South American tariffs, 
and humorous sketches in which celebrated radio artists said 
that their rivals really lovely friends of theirs were no good at 
all. Don rarely heard any of it, as he read his newspaper and 
The Grain Gazette, but if she wanted to turn it off he was angry. 
He mourned, "Can't a man do what he wants to even in his own 

103 



house? I don't stay out nights chasing around with a bunch of 
chippies, and I think I might have some consideration." 

Rose frequently told Cass that her liveliest desire was to have 
Don "stay out nights and chase his head off and let me have one 
quiet evening to think in." 

When Rose had married him sixteen years agohe was 
twenty-four and she was only twenty she had reported to Cass, 
"Don's really the most appealing boy, under his apparent solid- 
ity. I'm the only one who understands him. He tugs at my heart- 
strings." 

She complained about Don now rather too much; usually to 
Cass but not rarely to an intimate lunch of women at the Heather 
Club. But she never complained to her daughter, Valerie, for 
whom she planned vicarious careers* as an actress or a news- 
paperwoman. 

She said to Cass, in effect, "I want to live in New York and 
get to know all the intellectuals. But what is a woman who is 
still good-looking at thirty-six but not beautiful enough* to make 
a career of it, clever enough to know she wouldn't be clever on 
any job, aware, through reading, of all the glamor and luxuries 
of life but with no money for them and no rich relatives to mur- 
der, active and yet contemptuous of amateur charities and ar- 
tistic trifling and exhibitionistic sports, untrained in anything 
worth fifteen dollars a week on the labor market and not even, 
after years of marriage, a competent cook or nurse, no longer 
in love with her husband and bored by everything he does and 
he always does it! and yet unwilling to have the thrill of being 
vengeful toward him or of hurting him intentionally, liking 
other men but not lecherous nor fond of taking risks, possessing 
a successful daughter and too interested in her to desert her 
just what is this typical upper-middle-middle-class American 

Wife to dor 

When Cass scolded that she had never yet done anything to 
prove that she was really superior to her cheerful and indus- 
trious husband, and that Don might be bored also, Rose agreed 
so angelically that Cass felt helpless. And when he insisted that 
if she really wanted to break away, she must quit talking, take 

104 



a plain job, study, thoroughly learn some occupation, she agreed 
just as amiably, and did nothing. 

She had once had something like a lover in St. Paul, a mu- 
sician, a pretentious fool who finally ran off with a weak-minded 
grandmother, but Rose was still proud of having been caressed 
by this cavalier. Once, for two weeks, she had thought that she 
was in love with the brutal powers of Dr. Roy Drover, but then 
the doctor had gone trout-fishing. 

She believed that she liked to listen to spirited conversations 
between Men of Talent. She asserted that she was "absolutely 
in awe of geniuses, like Bernard Shaw and Henry Ford" and 
that she "got such a profound thrill from hearing original points 
of view expressed/* Actually, they never did get expressed when 
she was around, because if she asked a deep question, she inter- 
rupted the answer to it as soon as she had thought up another 
question. Even the most intellectual exhibit say, Norton Trock 
explaining bank clearances became only a dark background 
for Rose's spiritual fireworks. 

All of this about Rose Pennloss is true, and none of it is quite 
true, because along with her restlessness, which arose from her 
feeling that nothing she was doing was important, she was a 
kind-hearted and attractive woman and an unjealous mother, 
who would, with a sturdier man, have become a good farm-wife. 
And, loving Cass, she was willing to believe as strongly as he 
that in Jinny Marshland there was a witch-lamp and a knowl- 
edge of good and evil. 



105 



18 



Iras OCTOBER WEEK, Cass had a wriggling heap of divorces in 
his court, along with a good clean burglary and one lively carnal- 
knowledge case. He worked late in his chambers or at home, 
and all week he did not once see Jinny. Saturday, he went re- 
luctantly off on what was supposed to be a joyful duck-hunting 
stag, at Dr. Drover's log hunting lodge near Lake Vermilion. 

"Roy's Retreat" had cost a good many appendectomies for its 
varnished logs, its fieldstone fireplace, and many a humble 
tonsil had gladly sacrificed itself for the Navajo blankets, the 
Mexican pottery, the rack of English shotguns, and the hotel- 
size refrigerator. 

The six hunters in the party were out on the duck-pass at four 
in the morning on the day after their arrival. They set out the de- 
coys and humped over, shivering, in the rain, watching the 
bleary water, the thin tamaracks, as a wet dawn crawled over die 
swamp of faded reeds. Dr. Drover had two bottles of brandy 
with him, and when they drove back to the lodge for breakfast, 
at nine, they had only five mallards, but they had six beautiful 
jags. Thereafter, though Roy would occasionally go out and 
repel some savage duck that seemed to menace them, they drank 
and played poker and talked about women, and not about 
women in the kitchen or the polling-booth. 

The others were gentler men than Roy; they did not roar and 
they liked novels and the theater, yet all of them, except Cass 
and Gerald Lent, who had once lived in Europe and who was 
now the kept husband and social secretary of Delia Wargate 
Lent, belonged to the Big Boys, the solid and hearty fellows, 
contemptuous of tenderness toward any women except their 
mothers and their daughters, and their talk about women, as 
about taxation, marched with the tread of infantry on parade. 

Though the biggest and by far the strongest among them, 
Cass often had an exasperating feeling of inferioritiy to these 
virile captains. Like a small boy among scornful elder brothers, 
he babbled things he did not especially want to say, he inter- 
rupted them with uneasy questions that he did not particularly 

106 



want answered. He told wavering anecdotes about the court 
room, and even during them he thought, "This is a very dull 
story !* He chattered about Russia, about Judge Blackstaff, about 
the way to cook cabbage, about every small subject that was 
sacred to him just now because he had been discussing it with 
Jinny. 

Roy belched, "Oh, shut up, Cass, you're just gossiping. You 
get me down. How the hell a pansy like you, that plays the flute 
and reads poetry and is nuts about every sixteen-year-old gal 
that hits town and even gets chummy with these Farmer-Labor 
agitators that want to overthrow the Governmenthow come 
you can still be the best shot in town is clean beyond me. By 
God, that's injustice!" 

That was Roy's way of showing his affection and of showing 
what he really thought. 

In their talk of women, Roy and Greg Marl said nothing about 
their own wives, and Bradd Criley had none, but Harley Bozard 
jeered that his spouse, Karen, was completely frigid, and Marl 
let them know how successfully, on a Pullman sleeper, he had 
seduced the wife of a college president. 

Gerald Lent ruefully reported, "If any of you boys think it's 
a cinch to be idle and live on a rich wife like Delia, that expects 
you to yes her relatives and to get hot at two A.M., I wish you'd 
try it. I ever tell you about the time I had a row with her before 
I went off to the Arrowhead? When I came home, she'd put all 
my pictures and clothes and the chest that I bought in Florence 
out on the lawn, in the rain. The meanest job I know of is to be 
the little husband in the home, waiting for the big manly wife 
to come from work. No ditch-digger earns his keep as hard as 
I do. I wonder when I'll walk out on dear Delia. She'll be so sur- 
prised! Hey, don't be so tightwad with that hoo'tch." 

Through it all the monkish Cass wanted only to repeat the 
awfully bright things his Jinny had said. 

He dared not even question her employer, Greg Marl, about 
her progress as a cartoonist, lest the independent young woman 
hear of it and think that he was interfering. 

He was certain that these were his good friends and that he 
was madly enjoying the drinking and the poker, but when they 

107 



were all out on the lake, one day earlier than he had intended to 
go, he left a highly perjured note for them and drove back, on a 
red-gold Minnesota October afternoon, to Grand Republic to 
Jinny. 

On the way, from a booth in a country store, he telephoned to 
her, "Starting home dine with me tonight?" She was at the 
Banner office, where ordinarily she was forbiddingly business- 
like, but now she squealed, "Darling! I didn't expect you till 
tomorrow. I'm so glad!** 

"I had a fine time hunting with the boys." 

"The boys! Grrrr!" 

"I thought maybe I never would come home.** 

"So did 1. 1 was scared." 

"Would you really care if I didn't come back?" 

"I think I'd just die. No, no, I wouldn't! But " 

"Darling, I'm so We dine, then?" 

"Of course. Why not?" 

"Well you know I was afraid you might have a date with 
Eino or Tracy or Abbott Hubbs." 

"Those brats! And if I did-so what!" 

"You'd break it for me?" 

By now, the ardor that in her surprise Jinny had betrayed had 
grown more cautious, but she was still friendly as she answered, 
"I might think about it, anyway." 

"I'll be at Miss Hatter's at seven, then." 

'I'll be all ready. Seven sharp." 

Which, in Jinny's time-schedule, meant ten minutes past 
seven, not very sharp. 

But for once, when he drove up she was out on a flimsy sort 
of balcony, apparently ready, and she waved to him with a 
thrilling "Be right down!" 

He then waited, in his car, for seven minutes. Four of them 
he devoted to regretfully watching his fervor cool off, and three 
to wondering whether she had, upstairs there, some rat of a 
suitor whom she did not wish him to see. 



As she came out of the covered outside stairway, his rapture 
sprang up again, but now it was Jinny who was reasonlessly 

108 



cool. She said "Hello" civilly, and nothing more, and slipped 
around the car and into it before he could give her his hand. 

The fatuous lover fretted, as he drove, "I did miss you so, 
Jinny. No fun with the ducks. You miss me?** 

"I guess I did. Yes, sure. But I've been awful busy/' 

He had the sense to be still, on their way to the Unstable, or 
to mutter about ducks, a subject devoid (in their case) of emo- 
tional strain, and to tell her that Greg Marl had said, "Good 
little draftsman, Jinny, and a good sport in the office/' 

Jinny glowed with "Oh, did he?" Yet she was morose again 
when they faced the excellent whitefish and fried apples at the 
Unstable, and our poor friend was no longer wise. He protested, 
"What's the trouble, lamb?" 

"Trouble? I don't know what you mean by 'trouble'!" 

"Well, you're so silent " 

"Good heavens, can't I ever be quiet a moment without being 
accused of being deliberately unpleasant?" 

"I didn't say you were unpleasant! I never even thought 
such a " 

"Well, you certainly looked as if you did." 

"Oh, Jinny, dear Jinny, what are you quarreling about?" 

"1? Quarreling? Oh, this is too much! I get so irritated when 
you watch me and spy on me and try to find fault with every 
little thing that I do or don't do and try and show how superior 
and I dor 

He could only look at her like a mournful hound surprised by 
the spitting of his friend the household kitten. Jinny ran down. 
She laughed, she cried for a seconda tear absurdly dribbled 
down her immaculate nose and she whimpered: 

"It's my old trick. You'll have to beat me." . 

"M?" 

"When I was a kid, whenever I wanted something terribly 
and then got it, so I was all excited and grateful like Christmas 
or a birthday or finally Mother got a dress for me that I was 
crazy about then I was scared to let on how happy I was, or 
maybe I was afraid it would vanish if I believed in it too hard 
and showed how much I wanted it. So I'd fly off into a horrible 
Httle tantrum, and the gladder I'd been, the worse I'd behave. 

109 



Believe me, it didn't last long, it never did, and if Dad and 
Mother could just get themselves to ignore it, I'd be all right. 
But it did used to surprise them and hurt them. And now I'm 
not so violent, but I'm doing something like that to you, and 
you're so sweet! I've been vixenish tonight just because I was 
glad you'd come back early! Do you think you can put up with 
it? I know I'll do it again. Even to you. Can you endure such 
a horrible, childish frenzy?" 

Why, of course he could. Meant nothing at all. Just nerves 
and tiredness, from all her energy Get right over it. Cer- 
tainly. Fact, he'd enjoy her tantrums, if she was always so re- 
gretful and generally lovely afterward. And usually, with most 
lovers, they didn't just have little misunderstandings like this, 
but actually quarreled, didn't they? They were different] 



19 



THE RED MAPLE LEAVES and the golden poplar among the pines, 
and the innocent blue skies that were the autumnal glory of 
Grand Republic, were gone. Spring was a season too harsh and 
swift in Northern Minnesota; it was the carnival of colored 
leaves and the serenity of the long Indian Summer days that the 
natives of this land would remember sadly, far off in tired East- 
ern cities. With November, the first snows had brought shouting 
cheerfulness ta children with sleighs and blasphemy to drivers 
trying to slide their cars up the slippery roads to Ottawa Heights. 

The city hunched its shoulders now to the long winter blast. 
The trees that had given a village gentleness to the long streets 
were thin and shivering, and the houses were scattered and low, 
lonely as the old frontier. 

Reviving cocktail parties were gay, at the Wargates', Madge 
Dedrick's, the Havocks', the Bozards', but Cass was not often 
present. The first scandal of his interest in a Young Outsider had 
settled to an accepted routine, but his friends resented more than 
ever his neglect of them, felt in it a slighting of the social glories 
of their town, about which they were always very emphatic and 
very insecure. 

110 



When he could not be with Jinny, Cass preferred the habitual- 
ness and the validity of his court room, where now the lights 
came on early and they were snug and content about their busi- 
ness of sending people to prison and were not disturbed by the 
invitation of green river valleys and the liquid sound of small 
lake-waves around a fisherman's scow. Often, after court, he 
talked for half an hour with George Hame, the court reporter, 
who apparently knew nothing about Jinny, though he had seen 
her in these chambers, but who, if he had known, would have 
assumed that any young thing was lucky to get the Judge. 

.Cass saw Jinny daily, and he was disconsolate in discovering 
that the course of true love runs in curlicues. He had assumed 
that persons so sensible as himself and Jinny would march 
sweetly and directly onward from meeting to understanding to 
an altar and a beautiful home and six beautiful children all 
superb in filial devotion and swimming and arithmetic. With 
Blanche, die progress had been straight enough. She had found 
his attentions flattering; she had taught him to wear his clothes 
and his political opinions well; she had met a richer man; and 
she had got out. What could be better charted? 

But with Jinny, even his jealousies ran jaggedly. 

He was dining with Jinny and Eino Roskinen in a booth at 
Shorty's Fountain Cafe\ The prospect was of a forest of hats 
and overcoats upon a skeleton tree, a woman in dreadful plaid 
winter slacks, and a Coca-Cola poster showing a nearly naked 
bathing girl the Folk Art of America. They were taking the 
Blue Plate Dinner: a pork chop with apple sauce and French- 
fried potatoes and string beans made of wood pulp, though 
afterward they indulged in "pie a la mode/', pie crowned with 
a hard little knob of ice cream. It was an abominable meal and 
a criticism on their whole civilization, but Eino the torch-bearer 
did not, for once, perceive this as well as the cautious judge. 

Cass had wanted to treat these boarding-house starvelings to 
what was here called a T-bone steak, but they had refused his 
patronage. He was trying so hard to be one with them. Eino 
now called him "Cass," and the Judge winced every time he 
heard it, though it was he who had suggested it. To be youthful 

111 



and chummy, he offered a few remarks on football, which ap- 
parently bored them, and on the fallacies of religion, which they 
dismissed as too elementary for their advanced revolutionary 
standing. 

Well, he had done his social duty, and he fell to musing, 
thinking of an ethereal and more-than-human girl named Jinny, 
who was far off somewhere and with whom he longed to be, 
flinging jests like rainbow-hued balls of glass, reverently kissing 
her flawless hands. . . . Meanwhile he looked absently at the 
ink-spot on one thin paw of Miss Marshland of the Grand Re- 
public Banner. 

He came out of his reverie to find that they were talking 
about the local Little Theater, the Masquers. 

"You ought to make time for it, this winter, Jinx," Eino was 
commanding. "Personally I can't act I'm too much the intel- 
lectual type but you have an energetic fakery that would make 
you a swell actress." 

Cass fumed that she did not resent this, but let him go on. 

"Let me tell you the theater could be the greatest instrument 
for the implementation of social ideals that the world has ever 
known. If you'd quit sketching a little and reading a little and 
really go to work and try for a part in the Masquers, you might 
accomplish something." 

"Eino! Do you honestly think I could act?" 

'Well, I'd coach you." 

He would, would he? Aahl 

Is she already going back to that Eino? I suspect she was 

pretty fond of him when I came along, and then I was a novelty! 
A respectable lawyer prancing around making a comic spec- 
tacle of himself over a girl young enough to be his Well, she 

could be my daughter, if I'd started begetting at sixteen. Per- 
fectly possible. Curse it! 

Sure. I merely offer her whatever dignities I may have, 

along with all my adoration, and she flies off with the first torn 
fool that guffaws at her 

Now that's unfair. She knew him some time before she 

ever knew me, and anyway, she's merely a loyal friend of his, 
and he's a fine, hard-working young 

112 



Does he have to keep on making that horrible noise, tap- 
ping on the table with that crowbar of a finger? 

When the children remembered that their Venerable Friend 
was still present and tried to cheer up the poor old codger by 
giving him the news that it had been cold today, he wanted to 
convince them that he was still alive by croaking that, yes, it had 
been quite cold for November, that is and he had noticed 
it all by himself. 

(It had not, by the way, been particularly cold.) 

Having thus done their duty by the nonagenarian and having 
given a talented new actress to the stage, the happy young 
couple turned to more personal confidences. They said that 
Tracy Oleson was getting to be as much of a stuffed shirt as 
Webb Wargate himself, but they they would just get off in 
corners and laugh about it. They illustrated, by laughing. 

It was part of their creed and time that every so often Eino 
and Jinny should say to each other, "What's cooking?" and that 
they should show reverence for jazz and familiarity with such 
contemporary maestri as Benny Goodman and Peewee Russell. 
Cass hoped Eino would never learn that he sometimes, in a 
melancholy and amateurish way, tried to play Purcell airs on his 
flute. This practice he had begun in college vacations, and it 
had been extraordinarily ill received by Roy Drover. 

Jinny (or so Judge Timberlane believed) smiled guiltily at 
Eino while she adjusted the straps of her brassiere known at 
this time as a "brazeer," or, coyly, as a "bra." But he insisted 
that it was not Jinny who was damp and treacherous. She was 
innocent, but this Roskinen was a wolf. 

By God, he would protect this child, toward whom he himself 
had no intentions save to teach her chess! If Eino thought for 
one moment that he wasn't suspected 

Eino was on his feet, saying with amiable brevity that he'd 
enjoyed his dinner leave you two capitalists to wallow in the 
movies g* night. Then Jinny was clawing at Cass like an angry 
Cleo: 

"Cass, my dear young brainless baby, I have never in all my 
life seen such an exhibition of childish jealousy!" 

113 



"You, Honorable Timberlane, you!** 

"But I disapprove of I detest jealousy!*' 

"Then you detest yourself. The way you kept glaring at Eino, 
contradicting everything he said, but not decently, with words, 
but with that horrible sniffy silence! And when I yanked at my 
shoulder-straps, you put on such a production of goggling at 
me and then Eino that the poor lamb was thunderstruck. And 
this after he's given up all claim on me! I'm simply not going to 
stand for such insane jealousy!" 

"Jinny! I didn't know I was. Maybe you're right. I'm pro- 
foundly " 

"And all over poor Eino! Now if you'd pick out my editor, Mr. 
Hubbs, to be jealous over " 

"Hubbs? He, too?" 

"Oh, very much too. He's what we call in the office a sweetie 
pie." 

Impishly, she waited for him to vomit over the phrase, but he 
was being too seriously appalled that he should be another of 
the jealous lovers who brought so much poison into his court. 
He muttered, "So I really seemed jealous?" 

"And how! And when you consider that I almost never see 
Eino any more. His mother has moved into town, and they've 
taken a shack together, and he just drops in at Hatter's to see 
Tracy and Lyra^-not me. The fact is " She wrinkled with a 
new worry as she went on. "I don't see enough of him, or the rest 
of my old bunch, either, not even Lyra. I'm so much at the office, 
and evenings I'm likely to be out with you. And you actually 
jealous of those eager kids! I've drifted away from them shame- 
fully. I give you all my time, and then you humiliate me by this 
jealousy. Oh, Cass, I can't stand it, if you're going on like this!" 

"My dear, I'm all humbleness. I hadn't realized it. I have only 
the old excuse that my jealousy is the measure of my devotion to 
you and of my insecurity with you. If we were really engaged, 
if I could only be sure that I had you to do things for, then 
maybe I wouldn't be so uncertain and so jealous." 

"But I still don't see how you can be so touchy, and 'suspect 
me of the worst' whatever that means." 

114 



"And I don't see how you can endure driving me plain mad 
and ridiculous by leaving me so baffled. But no matter; even 
if you do, I won't be jealous. And- don't tell me again that 
jealousy is an insult to you. I know it is! So I'm cured." 

"Are you?" 

"I think so maybe/' 

They could laugh slightly, and everything was settled, and 
with entirely unconscious jealousy he got her talking about this 
new menace, this scoundrel, Abbott Hubbs. 

She, it appeared, was sorry that Mr. Hubbs drank so much, 
and she believed that his wife was not gentle enough with him. 
It also seemed that an Important Person in Washington had as- 
serted that Mr. Hubbs was competent to take charge of any 
newspaper in Chicago or New York. Most devastating of all, 
Mr. Hubbs he had such a sense of humor cut paper dolls out of 
the exchanges and presented them to Jinny, who had one of 
them in her purse this moment, along with Isis. 

To Cass, it looked like a very bad paper doll. It looked like a 
piece of newspaper which had been chewed by a puppy of im- 
perfect intelligence. 

He said that Hubbs was a "splendid fellow and veiy brainy" 
and that the paper doll was of unique charm. Blessedly, then, 
they quit that quest for perfection in each other which is the 
maddening glory of all true love, and they did a very fine game 
with matches you make six triangles with eight matches, only 
you never do. He stroked her hand, soft tan against the red- 
rubber tabletop, and they went arm in arm off to the movies. 

That night, gravely rubbing Cleo's spine, he told himself that 
jealousy was the meanest of sicknesses and most contemptible 
of prides. 

Having delivered before himself an address which would 
have adorned any Bar Association dinner, Cass became rather 
sorry for this lonely judge, still young, able to love with angelic 
selflessness, yet kept waiting like a servant by an opinionated 
young woman with shameless scarlet finger-nails. 

Then some time in his dizzy changes of opinion he must have 
pulled Cleo's hair, for she yowled and leaped and fled he fell 

115 



upon himself for this desecration. No! Jinny was the true god- 
dess, perfect in every part, under law of the miracle whereby a 
woman who is completely lovely of face is lovely also in skin and 
limbs and shoulders and voice and walk. She was the divinity 
inviolable, to say nothing of being a very exciting young woman 
who said such clever things, and sometimes was a grieved and 
frightened little girl who broke his heart by her helplessness 
against the vicious world. 

Then, by a descent into hell too swift to have been marked: 

Of course she's all that. But. 

But does she have to fall for every heel she meets? She 

specializes in heels. First this philandering Little Theater hound 
and that statistical Tracy Oleson lout, and now this third-rate 
dipsomaniac, Hubbs. 

Oh, quit thinking in circles! To say nothing of its being a 

crime against your love for her, which is the one splendor in 
your whole mechanical, law-grubbing existence. 

But do Eino and she make fun of me and laugh at me 

when they're by themselves? Do they consider me a solemn owl 
trying to be a lark? How they must talk and giggle! 

Dear Jinny, my beloved, forgive me for loving you better 

than I can! 

All the next morning, in court, while he was listening to the 
horror of a woman who had killed her own baby, he kept fighting 
off a vicious little plan to drop in at the Banner office and see 
how Jinny and Abbott Hubbs acted when they were together, 
The testimony of the frightened woman burned away all the 
cheapness of his plan, and he wondered that his self, which 
mostly he respected, could be so sneaking. On his way to lunch, 
he saw Hubbs on the street: tall, anemic, moving jerkily. He 
thought of him, working hard, drinking hard to keep going, 
watched always with a friendly distrust by that bland Olympian, 
Gregory Marl. 

Then all the sickness of jealousy was gone from himfor a 
while. 



116 



20 



WHEN THE NOVEMBER SNOWS had halted automobile wander- 
ings, they began a placid habit of evenings at Bergheim. Some- 
times Jinny brought Isis along and set her where she could 
watch. To Cass, this affection for the tiny glass cat was no sillier 
than Egyptian rites in which Jinny might have been a little 
wise priestess, her thin hands elevated in prayer to feline mys- 
teries, in the ancient haze of the Nile. 

Mrs. Higbee adopted Jinny, and one evening Cass heard 
them as they explored the upstairs, conferring on what should 
be done for Him. 

"Do you ever have French toast for His breakfast?" suggested 
Jinny. 

"Oh, yes, He likes any kind of sweets. He isn't a heavy eater, 
you might say, but the way He can shovel in the griddle cakes!" 

"We ought to take more care of His health. He's always car- 
rying on about His hunting and tennis and swimming, but win- 
tertime, He sticks His nose in a book and never gets out/' 

"Don't I know it, Miss Jinny! . . . You, Cleo, you get out 
from under my feet. What you want to do? Trip me up? ... I 
say to Him at breakfast, I say, 'Judge, aren't you ashamed of 
yourself, big strong young fellow like you, sitting and reading, 
read all the time, all those big thick books, and not get out for 
exercise 'cept summer?' But Lord, I can't do anything with Him. 
I'll keep Him nice and clean and well fed inside the house, but 
you got to drag Him out on walks." 

"I will, too. Gracious, this bedroom of His is gloomy! I'd 
like to see it all in maple, with blue curtains." 

"Looks like He likes it gloomy. I guess judges don't get fun, 
like you and me." 

"I'll educate Him!" 

Downstairs, Cass listened blissfully. 

He had at first been fretted by the thought of Jinny's presence 
raising scandal among all the John William Prutts and peeping 
telephonic widows, but they were so natural and serene and 
domestic as they sat reading in the small, pipe-scented library 

117 



that he forgot such alien dangers. He inquired whether she 
would not rather go out dancing, drinking, and she had to 
instruct him: 

"I don't want to go racketing around all the time. If I really 
wanted to go out with these young punks, I'd go. It's just as 
exciting to find all these books here: The Golden Bough and 
August Derleth. Oh, don't insist on my being discontented! I 
can do that so easy by myself. Sweet blessed angel, will you 
quit your worrying?" 

"Yes yes oh sorry yes 1" 

Trying to make her more contented than contentment 

itself! That's all a piece with the jealousies I used to feel. Thank 
God that's cured! 

This profession of being a true lover. Can any one master 

it? That must be God's most sublime joke on the human race; 
that the more you want to make a woman happy, the more you 
blunder and bore her. 

Do you remember that Judge Timberlane being profound 

about matrimony in his chambers? And spinsters and unwed 
priests giving advice about it. Marriage and the common cold 
the two persistent problems of mankind and the ones that 
have never been solved. 

Lovely Jinny, sitting there with your tongue in the corner 

of your mouth, reading Death Comes for the Archbishop and 
looking like such a wise child, and all the while more devastat- 
ing and terrible than war. 

One thing I do get clear about her. She is one of those 

extraordinary people who are not willing to settle down and 
wait for death, willing to play cards and yawn and gossip and 
actually speak of Tailing time/ when we have so little time. 
What life she has she will always live. 

Unconscious of the lecture about her, the girl softly closed 
the book, slid to the hearth, and curled beside Cleo while Cass's 
meditations ticked on: 

You baby! Not so much bigger than Cleo, and yet all the 

while I see you as the eternal Pilgrim. My beloved, can't there 
be one husband and wife in history whom Time will spare for 

118 



a moment and who will defeat the worm? Dear Jinny, I wonder 
if you hear me? 

"Cass! You're smiling so tenderly. Are you thinking of some- 
thing pleasant?" 

"Well, something important, anyway." 

"Like candy-bars? Or a high dive?" 

"Yes, but with a touch of flaming wings." 

"Sounds ingenious. Oh golly, I'm tired. I'm going home to 
bed, my pet." 

"Nice words: home and bed. But rarely any flaming wings 
to 'em." 

"Are we as mysterious as we sound?" 

"Jinny, we are the most mysterious and frightening things in 
the world: a man and a woman of whom at least one is in love. 
, . . Jin, does it scare you to hear the word death?" 

"Never! I can't die not for sixty years at least." 

The little cat meowed pitifully at their feet. 

When he had driven her home and returned to his library, 
he saw that she had forgotten to take Isis with her. On a book- 
shelf the trinket shone in firelight, now diamond-flashing, now 
ruby, until as he stood there in his rustic coonskin coat and 
sealskin hat, he was hypnotized and saw a gigantic crystal cave 
in whose ice-glaring maw crouched a little figure, half -naked, 
sobbing, terrified by night and death. 



21 



BOYISH AND OPEN-FACED, blond and wavy-haired, a controlled 
drinker, a careful but quick-minded lawyer, Cass's old friend 
Bradd Criley was a pleasant fellow as well as the most valued 
dinner-guest and bridge-partner in Grand Republic. He was a 
bachelor, and he never toyed with any woman over forty nor 
with any girl under eighteen unless he was sure he would not 
be found out. He said to men, "I'm sorry, but I've been so busy" 
and to women, "You're so beautiful tonight/' He said, possibly 

119 



he believed, that Cass was the soundest judge on the Minnesota 
bench. 

He came snowily in one evening when Cass was giving Jinny 
a lesson in chess; he insisted on reading till the game was 
finished; and afterward, as they talked, they three became a 
firm trio. 

With his skillful teasing, he brought out from Jinny her 
opinions on immortality and Gregory Marl neither quite favor- 
ableand he made them laugh with his stories of the great, 
somber, dumb Wargate Family, which his firm, Beehouse, 
Criley, and Anderson represented. Jinny popped corn for them, 
pretty and flushed as she knelt by the fireplace, and brought 
cider from the kitchen, and faintly sang a cradle song. Bradd, 
svhen he left them together, shook hands with Cass and said in 
his frank, fresh voice, "Your Honor, I submit that you two are 
the nicest family in Radisson County." 

Next day, at the Club, he continued: "Cass, when are you 
going to marry this girl? Let me tell you: if you don't, I will!" 

"I'm crazy to. But she's turned me down flat/* 

"Nonsense. Keep asking her. I can see she's crazy about you 
and comfortable with you. Naturally she's still a kid she 
wants to show some independence." 

"You don't think she's too young for me?" 

"No I Got a wise head on her lovely shoulders. Ask her, boy. 
You'll get a reversal of the previous verdict. But if you don't 
get busy I'll give you three months, and if you haven't got her 
pledged then, I'm in the ring. I would be now, but I haven't 
a chance. She thinks you're a solid investment and I'm a flash 
gold-stock. Wonder how she guessed!" 

Bradd's encouragement roused him. 

Winter night at Bergheim, a northwest wind driving spears 
of snow from Dakota and Saskatchewan, and in the library, 
Cass and Jinny toasting and serene. 

He laid down his Life of Lord Birkenhead and spoke plain: 

"That's the sixth cigarette you've smoked this evening, Jin." 

"Oh yas?" 

"How many do you smoke a day?" 

120 



'1 dunno. Twenty, maybe/' 

"How long have you smoked?" 

"Since I was seven." 

"M?" 

"Cornsilk. In the Marshland barn." 

"Well, Til try not to nag. I'm not much of a reformer. I ad- 
mire revolutionists more than I do reformers. The greatest 
reformer living is Mr. Hitler, who is trying to reform all Europe. 
But still Jinny, you have such fresh lips." 

"That's Higgins's Sans Merci lipstick." 

"Nonsense. I've kissed you when your lips were damp and 
bare after we'd been swimming. Such sensitive lips and such a 
clear throat and sound lungs I hate to see 'em messed up, hate 
to see you spoil 'em just for an unconvincing pose of being 
worldly." 

"Maybe I will cut 'em nowmaybe." 

"Come sit on my lap." 

She did not, as once, roost there awkwardly, but lay gently 
against him, one hand holding his lapel, while he urged: 

"Now this is a trial. You are judge and I'm the defendant an d 
his attorney. Now Your Honor, I represent the man Timber- 
lane, a lout and slow-witted, but fervently in love with you." 

"With the judge? Why, Cass!" 

"Now play fair." 

"Okay, Counselor. Is this the accused that I see? Does he 
have to stand so close? Let me look at him. No. He doesn't 
look so slow, and I'm not too certain about his fervor. After 
all my experience on the bench, I'd say he was just in love 
with the picture of himself as a lover." 

"No, die fellow is not a romantic. He really thinks about 
what his young woman wants." 

"His what?" 

"All right, all right, monkey! His inamorata. His sweet lamb. 
His perambulatory dream. His virgin immaculate. His princess 
of the dark tower, and stormy as sunset were her lips, a stormy 
sunset on doomed ships, and she gathers all things mortal with 
pale immortal hands and she does not walk in the fields with 
gloves. His tragic fate, tortuous as the River Vye. His Oh, 

121 



Jinny, I'm afraid I have to be serious. You know that I love 
you utterly." 

Her arms gently circled his neck, but after a selfless quiet 
she sat up on his knee, a hand on each of his shoulders, mocking 
and combative again. 

"I still say I'm not sure you know what you want, Cass." 

"I want to see you at breakfast, fresh in gingham/* 

"Nobody wears gingham any more, and at breakfast, before 
coffee, I really am a stormy sunset on doomed ships. Ships run 
for Port Arthur when they see me dooming at breakfast. Sc 
that's out. What else?" 

"I want to be able to come home from court and tell you 
how swell I was; how my rulings stood 'em in the aisle." 

Children of their earthy land and revolutionary time, flip* 
pant and colloquial and compelled to nervous banter, they 
were yet in a noble tradition of lovers, and there was more of 
tragic prince than of smug clown in his airy demand; and it 
was Ruth amid most alien corn who answered: 

"I think you got something there/' 

Then he was grave. "And I want children." Blanche had been 
afraid of bearing children and she had always "put it off a while 
yet till the right time/' Cass demanded, almost mournfully, 
"Do you want babies, Jin?" 

"Yes. I love them/' 

"I'm glad. And I want to travel with you/' 

"I see. But not to kiss me." 

He answered that. 

"Well, I just wanted to make sure/' she explained. 

"But I haven't asked what the things are you want, and 
whether I can give any of 'em to you, Jinny." 

She was silent, then: "I'm afraid you'll learn I'm one of these 
changelings that can only give things to herself. I'm fond of 
you and grateful to you for liking me, but I have to travel by 
myself, for a while anyway. Maybe some day I can come back 
to you. . . . The cat that walks by herself, and she does get 
lonely in the night woods, but she has to see every shadow for 
herself and not be told by anyone what it's the shadow of-* 

122 



tree or bear or hunter or maybe a ghost shadow of a ghost. J 
have to look for myself." 

His "Darling!" was a sound of helplessness. 

Then, so suddenly that it was almost pain, not joy to him, she 
said, "But that doesn't mean that I may not marry you, before 
long, and go away now and then and come back to you when 
the woods get too scary." 

Arm around his neck again, she kissed him voluntarily, and 
on that there walked into the room Mr. John William Prutt, 
Mrs. Henrietta ( Mrs. J. W. ) Prutt, and their sound filial invest- 
ments Mr. Jack Prutt and Miss Margaret Prutt, with ten thou- 
sand ancestral shades of correct and banking Prutts in superb 
gray Pruttery behind them. 

"Oh!" said Mr. Prutt. 

"Your maid didn't explain " said Mrs. Prutt. 

Mr. Jack Prutt whistled. 

Cass had felt Jinny's body stiffen as she prepared to leap from 
his lap, but when the Prutts had spoken, she relaxed and 
stayed where she was, indolent and insolent, throbbing with 
laughter. 

The Prutts bumped rigidly out. Cass put Jinny gently on her 
feetfairly gently and rushed after them to the hall, coughing, 
"We're engaged, you know . . . You know . . . Engaged." 

Mrs. Prutt said reverently, "But alone? In your house? At 
night? Unchaperoned? Strange, Judge." 

"Very strange, I should think," said Mr. Prutt, and they were 
gone. 

Mrs. Higbee was wailing, "They walked by me like I was 
dirt, while I was trying to say, 'The master's in there kissing his 
girl.' Just walked by mel" 

"Nev' mind," hastened Cass, and galloped into the library, 
where Jinny stood fist-clenched and angry. 

"I knew it all the time! I should never have come to your 
house! I'll never be alone with you again. Oh, I don't blame you, 
especially, Cass, but I never shall again!" 

"But if you're going to marry me " 

"I'll never marry you! Don't ever speak of it again!" She was 

123 



in a panic, reasonless but overwhelming. Not for the first time 
had Pruttery been too powerful for a child of light. 

"Sit on my lap again for a moment and quiet down and then 
I'll drive you home." 

"No! No! I don't want you to. Ill take a bus." 
He had to use all the arts of the legal chambers to quiet her, 
to say "Now stop it!" as though he knew professional mysteries 
that she could never understand, before he coaxed her into 
bis car. All the way to Miss Hatter's he was awaiting the verdict 
of death to love. On the boarding-house step she said, "I guess 
this is good-bye forever. I don't think I shall see you again." 

T | 

Jinny! 

"Really." 

"I won't take that. To say good-bye to you is to say good-bye 
to life." 

She was clear and a bit sardonic: "You're the great legal star. 
You'll get along all right. You always have." 

"If the legal star has to go on shining by John William Prutt's 
permission, then I'll chuck starring and everything else except 
being with you." 

"You mean you'd give up being a judge for me, if you ever 
had to?" 

"I certainly do." 

"I wouldn't want you to. Good night." 

She was gone. 

He knew that hers was not merely the perverse rudeness of 
a lover. He had an excellent chance of losing her. Blanche had 
been right; he should never have let himself be baked into 
a pie of Pruttery and Roy Drover's intolerance and the generous 
avidity of Chris and the Avondenes. The springtime days of 
companionship with Jinny were past, and he was afraid that she 
would never again come to bring April light into his dark old 
house. 



124 



An Assemblage of Husbands and Wives 



GILLIAN BROWN VIOLET CRENWAY 

GILLIAN BROWN was a business woman, a career woman, but 
she was human, and she had decided that for such a premature 
phenomenon as herself, there were but five matrimonial choices: 
to marry a man who was her superior and who would either 
cheat her or leave her flat, to marry an inferior whom she would 
pet and despise, to marry an equal, which would happen only 
by a miracle comparable to Jonah and his also undependable 
marine companion, to lie unwed and rigid, or to have company. 
She had tried all five. The last seemed the most reasonable now, 
in the 1940*8, when she was assistant manager of Harley 
Bozard's shop for women's clothes, on Chippewa Avenue, Grand 
Republic. 

With her men, some half-dozen of them, she was good- 
natured, tolerant of drunks up to a point, but scientific about 
finding out when that point had been reached. She made coffee 
for them, and she lent them an electric razor of the very best 
brand. 

Gillian Brown, Mrs. St. George Brown, had been christened 
Mabel Chiddy, in White River Junction, Vermont, in 1898. She 
was the composite portrait of half the American Career Women. 
She wore smart suits with lace-trimmed blouses, her hair looked 
young, and so did her face, as far down as her mouth. She 
broadcast a weekly fashion report on Station KICK, and her 
voice was liquid chocolate, lazy and lenient, except when a 
salesgirl had talked back to her, or after she had had five 
drinks. Then it was liquid brass. 

She was ambitious, and her ambition was to make enough 
money to buy a horsy country place near Chicago, next-door t 
a gentleman farmer who would look like an English colonel and 
would fall in love with her, permanently, not just on option. 
Then she would become "normal and domestic." 

The store was open on Saturdays, ^xcept in August, and OR 
Saturday evenings she got drunk, but ~tfily introductorily, witk 

125 



The Girls, business women of her own fate. On Saturday morn- 
ings she lay and sighed that she would never have her country 
estate or her Colonel. On Sunday afternoons she got drunk 
in mixed company, and preferred to sing "Dixie/* On Sunday 
night she brought a male almost any male, and chosen as 
often out of pity for his being starved as out of her own 
simple passions home to her orderly flat, which was touchingly 
feminine in its china figurines of cats and lambs and Colum- 
bines. 

In her bathroom were forty-three kinds of cosmetics. Many 
of them, she knew from selling them, were useless, but she liked 
the bottles. But she was always careful to get them wholesale. 

She was shrewd, and preferred to be honest, and with equal 
reverence she read Catholic, Christian Science, and Unitarian 
magazines, 1890 novels about the indignantly virtuous daugh- 
ters of widows, and treatises on playing the stock-market. 

She admitted to having been married and divorced twice, 
and boasted of having lived in New York for three years and 
Paris for three weeks. Actually, she had gone through the valley 
of matrimonial humiliation three times, but the first had been 
to and from an aging Vermont farmer, when she was Mabel 
Chiddy and only seventeen. 

Her latest attempt to escape had been St. George Brown, 
a Brooklyn dress-salesman, whom she was still supporting. She 
had helped to support all three of her husbands, and though 
they had varied from small and tidy to lank and furrowed, they 
belonged to the same pattern: they were all weak and fond of 
cards and liquor and they all held their heads sidewise. 

She despised two things in women: taking alimony, which 
she regarded as a form of looting the conquered city, and the 
pretense that you are going to satisfy a man without intending 
to go through with it. 

Therefore, though she associated with them, drank and snick- 
ered with them, she detested two women in Grand Republic: 
Sabine Grossenwahn, divorced niece of Boone Havock, whose 
Louisiana-plantation-style bungalow was known as "Alimony 
Hall," and Violet Crenway, Mrs. Thomas Crenway. 

Violet was as luscious and perfumed as her name, fetching 

126 



of eye and uncommonly white of skin. She was renowned for 
raising funds for noble institutions: St. Anselm's Church, the 
Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Republican Women's 
League. She went into men's private offices, wearing white 
gloves and a gardenia, looking around intently and panting a 
little, and the men sent their stenographers away and pushed 
a chair out for Violet and stood beside it. She came out with 
the gloves, the gardenia, the funds, and her virtue all intact, 
leaving the men surprised and blasphemous. 

She said that she did adore men, the dear funny things, but 
wasn't it amazing, their masculine vanity and the way they 
thought that every Girl who smiled at them expected to be 
kissed! She boasted that she could come nearer to being kissed 
without any casualties than any woman since Delilah though 
in the comparison she did not mention Delilah but Joan of 
Arc. 

Gillian Brown said that she was interested in being with 
Violet Crenway because she was the most evil woman in town, 
and said that among the men whom Violet teased was Mr. 
Thomas Crenway, and Mr. Crenway did not like it. 

Gillian had reason to know how Tom felt about such things. 



127 



22 



Two DAYS AFTER the army of the Prutts had landed and 
devastated the coast, Judge Stephen Douglas Blackstaff came 
into Cass's chambers after court. 

"Cass, I have been listening to that banker fellow, Prutt, 
expiring of sunburn from his blushes of modesty on the tele- 
phone. He's a fool, but he is a symptom. A rustle of scandal 
is beginning to follow you. Son, you and I are both men of the 
world from a strictly Calvinistic point- of view, of course but 
we are also lawyers, and we both know that there must never 
be any shadow of scandal over the judicial office. Do you care 
so much for this girl that I've seen you with? Would you rather 
resign than lose her?" 

"Yes, I would, Steve." 

"Nonsense, son. Absolute mongery. Why the devil don't you 
marry the girl?" 

"Why don't I?" Why don't I? Because she's refused me. 
Twice." 

"My esteemed Rhoda refused me almost continuously, over 
a period of two years. She refused me on Rye Beach, she re- 
fused me in the Brothers and Linonia Library of Yale College, 
and refused me once during a communion service some- 
what abruptly, I thought. But still I triumphed at least, that's 
the accepted theory. Cass, you're a good young man. Don't risk 
your honor and the honor of the State for a sentimental fancy! 
People are sometimes evil, and they are not going to believe that 
you could not marry this young woman if you desired, and if 
nothing will make her wed you, there have always been the 
soundest precedents for consigning her to the devil.'* 

Judge Blackstaff's long and rigid back completed his admoni- 
tion, and Cass sat wondering whether for Jinny, that lightly 
dancing figure on a fan, he would really give up his judicial 
dignities. 

Yes, he would, if he must do so to guard one higher dignify- 
plain humanity. He had no right more imperious than to be 
with his girl, married or not, and for this he would certainly 



resign, at need. He had reached this uncomfortable resolution 
when Jinny herself, not knocking, came flying into his cham- 
bers; and before he had planned what to say, he had sprung up, 
he had kissed her, and she was sobbing: 

"Cass! I've lost my job!" 

"Oh no!" 

"I didn't think I ever could. I was so proud the girl cartoon- 
ist!" 

* What " 

"Mr. Marl fired me. For incompetence. I wish it could have 
been for drunkenness or bigamy. I did so want to be inde- 
pendent, and I thought I was such a whiz everybody said they 
liked my cartoons, and I thought they were all looking for 
them in the paper. I was so busy, and I was enjoying it, like 
a fool, and Mr. Marl called me in and first he said Mrs. Marl 
and he wanted me to come to dinner, all by myself was I ever 
proud! Then he asked me how come I didn't have a cartoon 
ready for day-before-yesterday. I hadn't been able to get a 
good idea, and I'd ruined two drawings. Then he said he'd 
already hired a new hand from Minneapolis and he was so 
sorry, so awful sorry, but I was through. So now 111 go back 
to the factory and eat dirt. I was so proud and silly and now 
I'm all washed up " 

She was weeping, against his shoulder. 

As George Hame entered the chambers, Cass said to her, 
"Now you're going to marry me." 

"Am I? Maybe." 

Judge BlackstafT said, yes, it would be a little inconvenient 
to have Judge Timberlane away from courjt during mid-term, 
even for a honeymoon. "But," said the senior judge, "it will bei 
a noble inconvenience." He patted Cass's shoulder. "Son, I am 
glad that you thought my advice over and decided to take it. 
I may no longer be the sprightly beau I once was, but you see 
now that I understand women." 

"Oh, thoroughly, Stephen." 

"By the way, my boy, take a Bible on your .honeymoon. You 
vourself may not read it extensively, but it may implant some 

129 



ideas in the pliable mind of your bride. I assure you that it 
is full of the most admirable advice to females to be thrifty, 
industrious, chaste, and silent. One of the most useful books 
to husbands. And whenever I travel I find it much safer to take 
some pulverized coffee.'* 

The Jinny whom Cass had expected to want only an informal 
wedding, with the mayor officiating and Eino and Tracy racket- 
ing around and beer and melody afterward, demanded a formal 
affair, with all the clergy, trains, white flowers, unreconstructed 
relatives, and champagne available. Cass was touched by the 
thought that she did not intend to come into the heraldic 
haughtiness of Ottawa Heights by the back door. She was so 
small and alone, and the Prtitts so large and firm and multi- 
farious. All right. His fairy princess should come in with as 
large and brassy a band as he could muster. 

But again he felt, "I can't go on carrying everything alone. 
I must have someone to help me." He turned to his sister Rose 
and to Mrs. Higbee. He was not worried about the attitude of 
Cleo; he felt that she would be for anything that brought 
gaiety and ribbon-trailing and mouse-fetching cake into the 
somber house. 

He sat gravely at the oilcloth-covered kitchen table, with 
Mrs. Higbee seated across, and urged, "I hope you'll be happy 
with Miss Jinny here." 

"Judge, would you like me to quit, so I won't get in her 
way?" 

"Good Lord, no! She loves you, same as I do. The question 
is whether you II be happy." 

"Very. A lot of bosses never think of it, but a house is a 
servant's home. I couldn't imagine myself anywheres else, but 
sometimes it has been lonely. Ill be real pleased to have her 
here, and that quick way she walks, almost runs, around the 
place. I hope I ain't intruding if I say it's grieved my heart 
sometimes to see you poking around so lonely. I prayed about 
it in church." She laughed. "I hope the Lord consulted you to 
see if it was all right, before He sent Miss Jinny in answer 
to my prayer!" 

"Yes, He consulted me. Thank you for Miss Jinny." 

130 



"Well, she was about the best I noticed around this town 
of course it isn't a very big place." 
"That's so." 

While Jinny was^in as much of an orgy of dressmaking a& 
any Wargate, Cass nervously conferred with Rose about "re- 
doing the house." 

"Leave it to Jinny/' she said. 

"And then there's a matter I don't quite dare to ask her, 
Rose, aboutabout rooms " 

Rose answered with the coarseness that only a truly good and 
wedded woman can achieve. "You mean, do you think she'll 
want the favors of the same bed with you every night, or to 
have a room of her own. Of her own, of course; same as any 
woman born since 1890. If you knew how Don gurgles all 
night long, and when he turns over, he sits up straight and then 
moans in terror and shakes himself like a wet dog and then he 
doesn't just lie down again he makes a dive at the pillow a 
belly-flopper dive. Give her the northeast bedroom, Gassy; the 
one I had as a girl. It's smaller than that funeral parlor of 
yours, but it gets the sun." 

"It's a go!" said His Honor, the learned judge. 

He felt very clever and efficient. 

His Honor, the learned judge, who had heard the details 
of maniac sex-murders and been bland enough in discussing 
them with psychiatrists, approached Jinny like a freshman: 

"You know, just at first, we might uh we might not want 
any children, and I believe there are precautions uh is there 
a woman clerk in your father's drug store that would uh I 
hate to speak of this but " 

"You poor dear lamb! What do you suppose girls talk about 
nowadays?" 

"Do they really? I didn't know." 

"There, there, Mother's glad you've kept your innocence." 

As a politician, Gass did possess the correct morning clothes, 
but there was a crisis in the matter of the top hat, that symbol, 

131 



that grotesque crown made of rabbit's fur, that more than 
the coat of arms or the broad A or even the dollar sign dis- 
tinguishes a gent from a fellow. In Grand Republic, they rate 
with bustles, and while Cass did own a top hat, he had last 
worn it at a Plattdeutsch funeral, and it had long rested in 
the attic, a nest for mice. 

He begged of Jinny, "You don't want me to wear a stove- 
pipe hat, like Abraham Lincoln?" 

"Yes, I dol IVe never seen one, except in the movies! Let's 
be gaudy for once. I don't expect to get married but just this 
one time in all my life." 

"Fine!" 

He had the Piccadilly Gents' Ware Shop send for the hat. 
When he had put on the whole armor of a knight, the high silk 
helmet, steely white shirt, linen gorget, dark-gray coat shaped 
like a calla lily, and studied himself in the full-length mirror 
on the back of his bathroom door, he was delighted. 

His best man, Dr. Drover, along with Boone Havock, Bradd 
Criley, Judge Flaaten, Frank Brightwing, and his other ushers 
had talked of a bachelor dinner, but he had no mind to endure 
their heavy jokes. The thought of Jinny was to him as frail and 
muted as a distant flute in the autumnal dusk. 

He spent his last evening before the wedding alone with Cleo 
in the quarter-lighted library. 

Was Jinny in love with him at all? Did she love him enough 
to endure his longing to give her everything that he was and 
had? It is more difficult to receive tolerantly than to give gladly. 
Of Jinny's mother and grandmother the question would never 
have been asked, but did Jinny, or any girl of her era, really 
attach herself to her husband and his fortunes, sick or in health, 
richer or poorer, avid for bright noise or content with the quiet 
mind? 

He was apprehensive. 

Cleo, who had been asleep upon his knee beside the dead 
fire, came suddenly awake, twitching and terrified, and leaped 
from him. He could hear her protests as she roamed the dark 
house, up and down, searching for something he did not un- 

132 



derstand. He sat uneasy, and when the telephone assaulted his 
ears, he gasped. 

It was Jinny. "How are you darling? Are you scared, like me?" 

"Bless you for calling. Scared stiff." 

"Well, and very right, too, Cass. Both of us ought to be; 
both of us these disgusting Sensitive Souls, looking for a chance 
to be hurt and likely to get sore when we don't get hurt, because 
that shows nobody cares enough about us to hurt us. But what 
are you sitting in the dark for?" 

"How did you know I * 

"Because I am, too! Good night. Oh, Cass, we're going to 
have a lot of fun being married. Ill really learn chess, even. 
I've ordered a chess costume: plaid, with rabbit-lined boots. 
Good night, my dear!" 

He was convinced that this spirit of fire and mist might 
some day love him like a breathing woman. But through the 
house Cleo was still searching, still whimpering reproachfully. 

Jinny was not so avid of grandeur as to want the reception 
that Rose Pennloss longed to give for them. She agreed with 
Cass that it would be wise to take the train directly after the 
ceremony. But that ceremony itself was ducal. 

Not since the wedding of Delia Lent, and her a Wargate, 
had there been a richer gathering of all that was noble, virtuous, 
and of five-figure income than at the union of Miss Marshland 
and Judge Timberlane; and the Rev. Dr. Gadd wore a new 
Geneva gown and had a Lutheran pastor and an Episcopal 
priest pretty young, but of the very highest church for col- 
laborators in the conjuring whereby the little wild hawk was 
turned into a Grand Repubh'c matron. 

There were even Prutts present. It was more fun to attend 
and look doubtful than to stay away. 

Through the forest of mink and broadtail, Cass saw Jinny 
coming down the aisle with her father. He noted, as casually as 
though he were studying a jury, that Mr. Marshland seemed 
timid and shrunken and shabby, against all the sleek furriness, 
and that Jinny, in cloudy white, was of the precise loveliness 
and inviolability of a goddess. 

133 



Uod keep her shining and confident as she is now. 

Then Jinny was his wife, and she was looking at him trust- 
ingly, and there was trust and adoration in his first marital 
whisper to her, "Let's try to sneak out the back door; we got 
just an hour and a quarter before the train goes" and in her 
enchanted answer, "Okay, darling my husband!" 



THEY MET AGAIN at the station, in rather-too-new traveling cos- 
tumes. During the maverick reception on the platform, with 
champagne served in paper cups, it was not Roy, the best man, 
but Bradd Criley who was the clown. He yelled, he slapped 
backs, he kissed Jinny, Lyra Coggs, Chris Grau, and Jinny's 
astonished mother. The train was going then, and Cass was 
muttering to Jinny, "It's good to get away from our loving 
friends." 

In their Pullman seats, she boldly held his hand, not caring 
who looked, and said with a strange little fierceness, "We've 
started, and I'm incredibly excited and cheerful, and Heaven 
knows where it will end may be^ China and temple bells." 

But she had never been farther East or South than Central 
Wisconsin, and when they had left St. Paul for Chicago, the 
bold and Chinaward girl became less confident and Cass was 
promoted from home-town neighbor to expert traveler, who 
knew all about altitudes and populations and how to treat 
dining-car waiters, and she looked at him with 1880 bridal 
reverence, and asked him about the scenery as though he were 
a geologist. 

There was food for awe: The palisades along the Mississippi, 
dark giant rock and swooping slopes of snow. The ravines of 
Wisconsin, leading to wintry valleys. The North Shore suburbs 
of Chicago, where at stations influenced by the Alhambra the 
wives of significant insurance-brokers looked haughtily out from 
station wagons. Lake Michigan, a relentless ocean. The por- 
tentous jungle of Chicago factories and warehouses and slums, 
the smutted steel insanity of the Loop, and the leather and 

134 



crystal Pump Room, where she listened admiringly while Cass, 
who knew nothing whatever about the subject, held a sym- 
posium on sauternes with the wine-waiter. 

The Liveoak Special, leaving for Florida at one A.M., was a 
supple serpent of a train, all in crimson-barred silver, with no 
vestibules breaking its smoothness. The fourth-fastest train on 
the continent, it had a library car, a bar-room car, a car for 
dancing, four bathrooms, two stenographers, and a Social Hos- 
tess who had once been married to a Russian prince who had 
once been married to a Hollywood female star who had once 
been married to practically anybody. 

Jinny looked at these conveniences as one of her peasant 
ancestors might have looked at Kenilworth Castle. It was her 
Cass who had given her this train. There was a husband for you! 

She did not know that he was in the agony of accommoda- 
tions-trouble. 

Like many young people of the day, Jinny was familiar with 
automobiles but less familiar with trains than her own grand- 
mother had been. She had motored with her parents twelve 
hundred miles out to Yellowstone Park, confidently driving 
four hundred miles a day, but she had never spent a night on a 
sleeping-car and she knew no more about the subtle categories 
of berths, sections, roomettes, bedrooms, compartments, and 
drawing-rooms than she did about the etiquette of wedding- 
nights, so delicately connected with them. 

In the Florida rush which was now taking the place of trips 
to war-barred Europe, the Liveoak Special's private rooms had 
all been engaged a fortnight before Cass applied. He un- 
scrupulously tried to use the influence of the court, the mayor, 
the local political bosses, and the department-store owner, but 
the best he had been able to do was two lower berths across 
from each other. 

They rustled through the Pullman, already stuffy with sleep 
and green curtains, and Jinny had no surprise when he showed 
her the two separate cloth-smothered caves. She only said, 
inevitably, "Do I have to sit on my clothes while I'm taking 
them off? Mercy! Good night, dearest; wonderful day, wonder- 
ful journey. I like beirij* Mrs. Timberlanel" 

135 



And vanished between the curtains. 

He sat on his berth, smolderingly took his shoes off, and 
thoughtfully rubbed his toes. He was in his pajamas (very re- 
fined mellilunar ones, a dark-blue silk with a fine silver stripe) 
and under the close-tucked bedclothes before he decided that 
he had to do better than this. He would kiss her good night, 
anyway. They were married, weren't they? He had some rights, 
didn't he? 

The solid Sioux nose of Judge Timberlane jutted cautiously 
out into the aisle, and turned right and left and hung there, 
rigid, as the eyes immediately above it perceived that George 
the Porter was standing inflexibly in the curving niche of 
Drawing Room A, on watch. 

The nose was jerked inside and its proprietor felt guilty, but 
also credulous that, through the sound of the moving train, 
he had heard a delicious flutter of disrobing in the berth across 
the aisleso near, so perilous. 

Three times the nose came solemnly pushing out. Once it shot 
back at the approach of the conductor, once at the return of 
the persistent and unromantic George, but the third time it 
shot across, and Cass was shaking her curtain, moaning, "Un- 
button this open it up quick!" 

He was safe inside then, but flustered. 

She was in pajamas, pale-yellow silk, well curving, and she 
was sitting up, staring at him. He expected a protest at his wild 
invasion, but what she said was, "Aren't those the nicest little 
lights I You can lie awake and read by 'em!" 

"Jinny! Kiss me and in the greatest hurry!* 7 

"Why?" 

"If the conductor finds me here He doesn't know we're 

married. I should hate a public argument! Kiss me!" 

She did, leaning forward. She was in his arms, only the two 
thin layers of silk between them; and shakily, not at all master- 
fully, he undid the top button of her tunic and softly kissed her 
breast. Then she drew back, as far as the thick pillows would 
let her, and whispered, "It frightens me you dash in here so 
quickly I do love you, but now I'm kind of frightened and so 
alone this huge train rushing us along in the darkness; you 

136 



couldn't escape from it, if you wanted to Be gentle with me, 

Cass; I'm such a spoiled baby." 

"Yes, 111 always be gentle, I hope. I love you very much. 
And now good night, dear wife. . . . And don't you sit up and 
read, either!" 

He had shot back into his own berth through green denim 
space, unconscious of transition or of spying conductors, and 
he lay awake alternately exultant with memory of how satin-like 
her breast had been and worrying lest she prove too anemic for 
ardent love. He had heard that these pencil-wise, half -intellec- 
tual girls were often so. 

His berth-light was on, and in it he gapingly saw a smooth 
hand slip between the curtains and begin to unbutton them, 
and then, grotesquely, there was Jinny cheerfully returning 
his visit. But with a woman's sense and realism and magnificent 
vulgarity, she was not playing at furtive lover, as he had. She 
drew wide the curtains and left them open, and in her pajamas, 
with the vaguest of negligees merely setting them off, she sat 
cross-legged on his bed. And she was smoking a cigarette. 

"Golly!" said the learned Judge. 

Her bent knees were extraordinarily round and suave, he 
noted, and where was that porter, and would he have to have 
a row? 

"It did seem so unfriendly not to return your call," she said, 
and her expression was like that of Cleo in one of her bettei 
moods. "And I wanted to tell you something I've always wanted 
to, but I was too embarrassed but you must have wondered, I 
don't see how you could have helped it of course you were too 
much of a gentleman to ever ask " 

The porter's voice, not so much shocked as official, came from 
just beyond Jinny's shoulder. 

"Sorry, Miss, but we dorft allow any smoking in the berths." 

Cass could see the edge of Jinny's affable smile as she turned. 
"Oh, I am sorry. Porter, will you please take this cigarette 
and finish it up for me? It's an awfully good one a wedding 
present today!" 

The dazed Cass saw the dazed porter carry the cigarette 
away, at arm's length, while Jinny turned back with: 

137 



"Of couise you would never even hint at it, but I do imagine 
you'd like to know, so now I can tell youand I'm darned if 
I know whether this is a boast or a confession but if it interests 
you, I'm still a virgin." 

Suddenly he grew up a little, and he was placid in saying, 
"Yes, it does interest me, and I'm glad, though I don't think 
I'd Ve been ugly if it had been the opposite. And I love you 
madly and you go back to bed or I'll spank hell out of you." 

"Right here in public? In my pajamas? I dare you to!" she 
*aid, and kissed him and was gone. 

Infinite pity encompassed him that, she should have to grow 
older and more frail, helpless before covetous men and corrod- 
ing illness, before poverty and storms that would come halfway 
round the world to threaten her proud head. 

In the morning they had left the snow and were running 
through level farmlands with a sparkle of frost on gray grass 
and gray snake-fences. He did not know whether they were in 
Illinois or Indiana or Kentucky, so for her information he 
picked the last, as most distant from the center of the world- 
Grand Republic. She stared out and said joyfully, "Look what 
you've started! This is my first foreign country. How near are 
we to China now?" 

He had explained that, in preference to the gaudiness of 
Palm Beach and Miami, he had chosen a plain West Coast 
Florida resort, for privacy, for adventurous fishing, for bathing 
and shell-hunting on great lonely beaches. He had never seen 
the place, but Harley Bozard said the food was excellent and 
the fishing superb. She'd certainly enjoy catching a tarpon. 

Oh, yes. She'd always wanted to catch a a what? Oh, much 
better than dancing with a lot of handsome tennis players. Yes, 
she had brought old clothes with her, as he had directed; she'd 
wear them when she wore anything at all. 

He did not add, not even to himself not really that the place 
would also be much cheaper. 

Thus she was not completely disappointed when, on the morn- 
ing of December fifth, they came to Baggs City, Charlotte 
County, Florida, and to the trim, clean, white, and completely 

138 



dolorous Bryn-Thistle-on-the-Bay Inn. The small lobby was full 
of old ladies who listened and of geraniums which stared, and 
their bedroom, just large enough for a double bed and a bureau 
and two chairs, was adorned with a hand-lettered version of 
the poem about the man who wanted to live by the side of the 
road, a pink chamber-pot with forget-me-nots, and a three- 
color job of a cupid piloting a bomber. 

"In here, I wouldn't even let you kiss me," protested Jinny. 

"Well, there's a lot of outdoors down here." 

They walked through the Inn grounds, which were as 
suburban as Glendale, but it was magical, two days from the 
wintry street-hurrying of Grand Republic, to stroll in this rich 
and scented air. Jinny eyed the crepe myrtle, the roses, the 
obese wonder of a grape fruit growing, and looked at the 
Cass who had worked this magic for her. 

"My Merlin!" she said. 

All afternoon, in a slow, good-natured launch, they fished 
in a deep salt-water inlet bordered by the shade and jungle 
brightness of a swamp; they stared at the palms, which meant 
India and the Congo to these inlanders from the wheat prairies 
and the pine woods; they relaxed and, cheerful as honeymooners 
rarely are, they came back to the Inn for supper. But the 
horrible daintiness of the place enfeebled them at once. It was 
like being choked with pink bedjackets. 

All the widows watched them as they ate a meal consisting 
of fish and finger-bowls; they had too many invitations to play 
bridge and too little competition when they did play; three 
several females nickered about "the little bride"; and when 
they went up to bed, making it as late as wa*s physically possible 
after an afternoon spent on the water, the air was so thick with 
lascivious female glances that they could have climbed it instead 
of the stairs. 

They shut the door against a world of intrusive friendliness. 
They faced each other, and he understood her shyness and tried 
to speak as he thought her Gang at Miss Hatter's would speak: 

"Well, baby, this is it. I guess we're up against it. But let me 

139 



explain that I'm not just violently in love with you. I'm also 
extremely fond of you." 

She was shivering, but she tried to be merry. 

"They all make so much of this accidental virtue of virginity 
that vou get scared about it, and the wedding-night I suppose 
this is our real wedding-night is a combination of getting 
drunk and winning a million-dollar lottery and waiting to be 
hanged. Animals are a lot wiser/' Then, more sharply, "I hate 
being an amateur, in anythingF 

In a practical way, she had begun to undo her belt, and when 
he had tremblingly drawn off his jacket, she stood, looking 
admirably casual, in brassiere and absurd small pants. He could 
not help kissing her shoulder, which tasted faintly of sun and 
sea. When she had put on a pathetically gay little rose-colored 
nightgown that must have come from Pioneer Falls and had 
mutely slid into bed beside him, he held her quietly, hoping 
that she would feel secure. 

He was conscious of the creeping and thunderous silences 
of the Inn: hesitant slippered footsteps past the door, whisper- 
ing in the adjoining rooms, a feeling that an inquisitive world 
was looking at them through the wallboard partitions. He was 
tense with listening, and Jinny, in his arms, was as impersonal 
to him as a pillow, and apprehensively he realized that he 
could no more make ardent love to her now than to that pillow. 

Was he going to be a failure as lover with this one girl whom 
he had loved utterly? 

She muttered, with almost prayerful earnestness, "Was the 
bathroom the third door on the right or the second? I'd hate to 
go rocketing in on some old maid!" 

He laughed then, and lost his apprehensiveness. But as he 
kissed her it was she who had become fearful and unyielding, 
and in pity for her his ardor sank to a gentle stroking of her cheek. 

When she seemed to have relaxed a little, to be expectant, 
his intensity had so worn him that he could only hold her 
softly, while fear crept through him again, and he stammered, 
'Tve heard of such things but I never expected I find I'm so 
fond of you, and maybe scared of you, that just now I can't even 
make love to you." 

140 



She answered as sweetly and briskly as though they were dis- 
cussing a picnic-basket. 

"Yes, I've heard of it. Temporary not matter a bit. Oh, you'd 
be surprised at all the things Lyra and Wilma and I used to 
talk about. Don't worry. I love just lying with my cheek on your 
shoulder now that I've found a comparatively regular valley 
among the jagged peaks of your shoulder-blades. Dear darling!" 

They were almost instantly asleep and Cass came to life at 
dawn to sit up and see, on her own side of the bed, curled like 
a cat and rosily sleeping, his adored and inviolate bride. 



24 



THEY FISHED AGAIN in the salt inlet, next day; they delightedly 
though erroneously believed that they saw a barracuda, a 
threatening moccasin; they felt valiant as only tourists can. 
They hired a Drive-Yourself car, put in bathing-suits and a 
bottle of cognac for emergencies, and cruised slowly down sandy 
roads among the yuccas. 

In late afternoon they came to an inlet with a great wash of 
wet sand and a cluster of whitewashed shacks: over-night cabins 
and a restaurant for impecunious tourists the eternal gipsy en- 
campment, the wooden-tented caravan. 

"Look! We can get away from the painted bridge-pads herel 
Here's the place for thwarted hoboes!" said Cass. And Jinny 
noted that on their journey to China, they had come as far as 
Tahiti. 

The restaurant walls were of upright bamboo, with palm 
thatch; the interior was cool and dim, with cement floor and 
loose-looking tables and black-and-white reed chairs. The pine 
bar was for drinking, not for the display of glassware. The bar- 
tender was a Minorcan, with a trim thread of mustache, the 
waitress was Mexican, and in the shadowed background, letting 
his planless harmonies drip from a guitar, was an old man in 
overalls, barefoot and masked with whiskers. 

The troubadour waved his straw hat and the bartender 
greeted them, "H* are you, folks." They had two Daiquiris, cool 

141 



and silken, and dined on fresh red snapper and a Cuban cocoa- 
nut ice cream. 

Before dinner they had inspected the bare pine cottages, 
each with only a double bed, a chair, and a water-tap, yet 
far larger than the Inn cubicles, and voluptuously furnished 
altogether, for outside each door was the curving sand and the 
rolling Gulf of Mexico. 

"I wish we were staying here, instead of at that knitting- 
works," sighed Jinny. 

The bar-restaurant half filled, after dinner, with Italian 
fishermen, Mexican truck-farmers, and such tourists as wan- 
dered by flivver and trailer, not to improve their minds or tans 
or social standing, but just to wander. Cass bought drinks 
for half a dozen new lifelong friends. Everybody beamed at him 
and Jinny, not titteringly, as at the Inn, but with an earthy love 
of lovers, and the troubadour played "La Paloma" at them. 

"Let's stay here tonight, in one of the cabins/' Cass blurted, 
astonished at himself. 

"With no baggage?" 

"We have ourselves/' 

"Okay." 

When Cass paid for a cabin in advance, the bartender took it 
for granted that they were not married, and was delighted by 
the whole general idea. So were the eloping Cass and Jinny as, 
with no bags to unpack, they took possession of their first real 
home together. 

There- were no occupied shacks near them, no whispering 
lady guests, but only the sliding sea. They lay with the door 
half open to the night, and suddenly he was ruthless with 
love and she as fierce as he, nipping his ear with angry little 
teeth, and they fell asleep in the surprise of love. 

At dawn, Cass woke her and they ran down the beach and 
bathed, unclad and laughing, and came back to new abandon- 
ment. 

Jinny marveled, "We both seem to be great successes. It was a 
terrible shock at first, but now I do cleave to you and we are 
one flesh/' 

"Forever?" 

142 



"Forever and ever, beloved!" 

Sleeping and waking, waking and sleeping, their open door 
embracing the wash of the fertile tide, amazed by the curious- 
ness of arms and legs and breasts, redeemed from civilization, 
they lay about the tousled bed till noon, and dressed and ate 
fried corn-mush for breakfast, to the commendatory smiling 
of the waitress. They wanted to be dignified, as suited their 
unique position in the history of lovers, but they also wanted 
to guffaw when Jinny said, "Think of what the old ladies at 
the Bryn-Thistle must be saying the painted old hussies!" 

They were one flesh, truly, and ecstatic with life. 

" 'Husband/ " she mused. "I used to think that word sounded 
funny, but now it seems such a sturdy old word. It takes me 
back, clear through Walter Scott to King Arthur, back to the 
Anglo-Saxons and the old woods of Wessex, and I feel as if you 
and I were in a bark hut, worshiping the old gods. My Druid! 
My husband!" 

"My wife! Yes, there are words that even the radio can't 
spoil." 

"Golly! Were the Druids Anglo-Saxon or Celtic or what?" 

"I honestly don't know," he said, in a blissfully shared com- 
munity of ignorance. 

There were no other guests at the tourist camp on this shining 
Sunday, and during the night Cass and Jinny had had no con- 
siderable sleep. Happily frowzy in the shade before their frowzy 
shack, lying on the long beach-grass with the sea-wind sweet 
about them, they slept through the afternoon. 

They might not have gone back to the Bryn-Thistle at all that 
night the night of December 7, 1941 but they were not yet 
so saved from Pruttery that they could stay on without clean 
clothes. 

They would come down here again, in a couple of days. Cer- 
tainly. 

With her arm injudiciously linked in his as he drove, they 
returned to the Bryn-Thistle at dusk, and from the porch a 
woman joyful at finding victims who had not heard the news 
screamed at them, in delighted horrorr "Been away? Then you 

143 



don't know. We're in the war! Japan attacked our ships at 
Pearl Harbor today!" 

They said nothing till they were in their room. Then, staring 
at him as though she had found him treacherous, Jinny said 
sharply, "Oh, curse the luck! Why couldn't I have known a few 
weeks ago? This time, they'll take women in the army. I could 
have seen Hawaii France Russia! And all the boys will be 
going Eino and Tracy and Abbott Hubbs and everybody! And 
I'll be left home with the old women!" 

"And with me, my dear." 

"Yes," sardonically, "with you!" 

Her tantrum that was what they had come to call any of 
her not-too-frequent wild moods was agallop. She moaned, 
"I hear they'll make women captains and majors and everything 
now in uniform and be saluted and station 'em with the flyers 
young and brave and good-looking!" 

I don't blame her for being disappointed greatest chance 

for adventure women Ve ever seen. But It certainly does 

hurt to have her talk as though I were senile. Be careful now 
be gentle. 

"Jinny, I'm sure you can still get into the war, even if you are 
married." 

"Oh, no. You'll complain about being left alone in your gloomy 
ole Bergheim." 

"We can do war-workmaybe together." 

"Aaaah! Rolling bandages with Mrs. Prutt, and you being 
obsequious to that old camel!" 

"Jinny! Quit it! If you want to go off to war, you shall. But 
I'm not going to let you forget last night." 

She fled to him and kissed him. "Forgive me for carrying 
on so. I just meant You are a darling, and I do love you so; 
I even love you passionately, now, as I never could any other 
man living." 

"More than the jittery Mr. Hubbs, even if he's in uniform?" 

"Oh, now you're being nasty. Much better than Mr. Jitters. 
Even more than my cute Eino. But you must admit that you're 
not as awe-inspiring as a whole army marching together." 

144 



"I certainly do. Jinny, shall I try to get into the Army, into 
uniform maybe the Judge Advocate's department?" 

"No, I imagine they'll tell you that you can do more good 
right where you are. And maybe me too, where I am. Yes 
maybe/' 

Now shut up, Cass. She'll get over her disappointment 

if you just keep still. 

He did keep still, but he felt useless, he felt that she did not 
vastly appreciate his labors as a jurist and a defender of De- 
mocracy. He felt, in fact, sulky, and doubtless his sulkiness was 
visible to her. When he said, with what he considered admirable 
good nature, "How about our going fishing again tomorrow 
haven't tackled that tarpon yet," and she echoed, "Fishingr he 
yelped, "All right then, we won't! Of course we do only what 
you want to, my dear Jinny!" 

"And just what is there to do, in this dump?" 

That was all of their quarrel. 

They did go fishing next day, on a placid-colored inlet, and 
they were so fond of each other that they almost forgot the war, 
and everybody forgave everybody everything. But it had been 
a quarrel, and if possibly she had started it, he had been the 
guiltier in carrying it on. They had had differences before, but 
this had been their first quarrel, their first drink, their first 
murder, and so, inevitably, it was the beginning of a series of 
quarrels interspersed with frantic peace-proposals, while the 
little crystal Isis listened bleakly. 

Their second quarrel rose from one of her "tantrums," com- 
prehensible but unexpected. In the midst of a poor little dance 
that the Bryn-Thistle was trying to give," with aged gentle- 
women tottering around the dining-room dancing together, 
Jinny demanded, "Have we got to go on staying in this hen- 
coop when people are having such a gorgeous time at Palm 
Beach? Aren't we good enough to go there?" 

"My dear child, we'll go over there any time you want to. 
We'll go tomorrow. Well hire a car and a driver." 

That was all, and after another dance, she apologized: Tir 

145 



sorry I flared up so. I'm sure the dear old things here mean 
well, but they get on my nerves." 

"Well go up and start packing now/' 

"You're wonderful, and I'm soriy I was noisy and spiteful 
and come on, let's get going! Palm Beach, here I come!" 

Do people who love each other always bicker and 

scratch and hurt? Must they? 

They both felt guilty when all the guests at the Bryn-Thistle 
came out on the porch to cry, "It's been so nice to meet you both. 
We just loved knowing you, Judge, and your dear little bride." 

It was a hundred miles across the Everglades to Palm Beach, 
and they sang all the way, hand in hand, behind their sedate 
colored driver. She was radiant then, a joyous peasant with a 
red kerchief round her dark hair, and when they came into 
the American Cannes, where all the people are beautiful, the 
houses all carven of gold, and the ocean water especially im- 
ported from the Riviera daily, by airplane, she was impressed 
to a blissful awe. 

The season was early; they were able to get a suite at the 
Royal Crown: two rooms filled with white-fur rugs and glass 
tables and chairs so modern that you sat in them as in a bucket; 
and Jinny squealed continuously in the high religious passion 
of absolute luxury, and he ordered up a bottle of Johannisberger 
Cabinet, in the slow drinking of which they enjoyed everything 
but the taste. 

He telephoned to Berthold Eisenherz, now head of the very 
richest family in Grand Republic, who came down to his villa 
at Palm Beach every winter. Eisenherz was cordial, which 
exiled Grand Republicans are not always to their fellow 
refugees, and ur^ed them to come over to the villa for dinner 
and dancing, that evening. 

So for five hours the Timberlanes lived in a Hollywood motion 
picture: a marble terrace on the starry ocean, a Cuban orchestra, 
champagne from a portable silver-striped bar, roses on a De- 
cember night, and young Navy officers who danced with 
Jinny. The war seemed only fictional. She exulted, "Cass, this is 
the night I've lived for this and our night at the gipsy camp. 

146 



I'm intolerably happyl I'm sorry if I was ever cross. Because 
I love you!" 

"More even than that lieutenant s.g.?" 

"More even than that lieutenant j.g.l" 

"Champagne, madame?" said the footman, who was a deacon 
in the Swedish Baptist Church, back home in Minneapolis. 

Jinny's husband was so relaxed that for the five enchanted 
hours he actually let her enjoy what he had so anxiously wanted 
to have her enjoy. And through the net of Jinny's black evening 
bag Isis peered out with a benignity that knew not good or evil. 

The Honorable Mr. Hudbury, United States Senator Hud- 
bury, should have been in Washington, fighting the war, but 
as he was a very thick, round, stupid man, it may have been 
as well that he was taking a week off from statesmanship to 
repose his limbs, which looked like four fingers of an enormous 
pale-white glove, as they were displayed upon the sands of 
Palm Beach. As an ex-representative, Cass recognized the Sena- 
tor even in the improbable disguise of a bloated violet bathing- 
suit, with a belt patriotically symbolizing the American flag en- 
circling the globe. Mr. Hudbury's belly being the globe. 

Now Cass did not care for Mr. Hudbury, not as a pal. Mr. 
Hudbury started eveiy sentence with "In my opinion," and he 
spent week-ends with lobbyists. Cass would not have collected 
Honorable Mr. Hudbury, or any other accidental celebrity, 
except to give him to Jinny, but since he had not given her 
any presents now since ten o'clock this morningthe present 
then had been a coral necklace which looked like the devil on 
her he now picked up the Senator's halo and handed it to her. 

Fortunately Hudbury remembered him, and fortunately he 
did not remember that he had hated Congressman Timberlane 
after a party caucus at which the fellow had suggested that 
even Republicans ought to know that there was a new invention 
called labor unions. 

They were a musical-comedy group upon these tropic sands: 
the Senator tubby and half naked, the Judge stalwart and three- 
quarters naked, and Jinny, b'ke all the other respectable women 
at that time and place, almost entirely naked, charmingly 

147 



naked, with white midriff turning cottee-color. With difficulty 
could you have found three people more nude or more piously 
against "this crank theory of Nudism/* 

"Senator, I don't know whether you'll recall me Cass Tim- 
berlane, formerly in Congress from Minnesota." 

"Why, yes, yes, my boy, how could I forget a wheelhorse who 
has rendered such sterling services to the Party! Sure. You 
had that house on H Street, and the cocktails made with 
Swedish aquavit. Perfectly/' 

This is my wife/' 

"Oh, yes, and of course I remember you, too, and the name 
ah, ah now, wait, don't tell meB1anche\" The Senator looked 
confused, but he was used to it. For years and years he had been 
confused over something or other, and he would continue to 
be confused until someone in his State discovered that he was 
their Senator, and had him defeated. 

Jinny looked irritated, then winked at Cass, yet she viewed 
Hudbury not without respect. After all, a United States Senator 
is a United States Senator, even when he is a hoot-owl. ( She 
still held that innocent theory. She had never lived in Washing- 
ton.) 

The Senator went on making sounds like an empty barrel. 
"How could I forget anything so charming as your lady, Cass? 
Ravished to see you again, Blanche/' 

"Oh, don't be ravished, Senator." 

"Yes, yes, I will! I can't help it. Now, folks, I'm about to 
assume the normal habiliments of a gentleman, and what-say 
you join me for a cocktail on the terrace of the Choiseul in 
half an hour?** 

Cass looked to Jinny for permission, and said, "Fine." 

The truth is that over the cocktails, and how many of them 
there were, Jinny was proud of being intimate with this aged 
poop, and if he did reveal himself by saying that "American 
Business stands wholeheartedly back of the war effort, ready to 
pledge every dollar to encourage Our Boys," yet he also re- 
vealed the senatorial magic by having somehow discovered, 
while he was dressing, that Blanche's name was now Virginia. 
It is probable that while he was under the shower he had been 

148 



speaking to the Federal Bureau of Inquiry by vest-pocket radio. 

Calling her "Jinny," pouring his black-molasses charm all 
over her, he first told her that as a boy he had sold newspapers. 
That was for him an obligatory introduction to anything he had 
to say, whether in the Senate, a grocery store, or a parlor house. 
Then he took them right into the heart of world affairs by con- 
fiding that on the very day after Pearl Harbor, he had been 
summoned to the White House for a small conference of the 
leaders of both parties. (That the President had noticed that 
Senator Hudbury was there or, if so, that he had said anything 
to him beyond "Got a cigarette?" Cass and Jinny never could 
find out. ) 

After cocktails the Senator took them on to the roulette 
club where, but under strictly honest, home-made American 
conditions, none of your foreign shenanigans, Jinny lost forty 
dollars. 

Here, they were in a spotlight of international chic. The 
Senator's secretary, a pale young man with constant reserva- 
tions, who was the Senator's eyes and his ideology, had come 
with them, and he pointed out, at the gaming tables, the third- 
greatest radio crooner in America, the fourth-greatest New 
York banker, the fifth-most-beautiful woman from Alabama, a 
colonel who was going to be a major general, a major general 
who was going to be a retired major general, and a gentleman, 
with a beard, who had been a German manufacturer but was 
now an exiled French patriot. 

Through all of this global low-down, Cass was as grateful as 
little Jinny, and said as they parted he did not sound like 
Judge Timberlane of the Twenty-Second Judicial District "It 
was extremely kind of you, Senator, to give us such a good 
time. I appreciate it/' 

At dinner, the two of them at their hotel, Jinny pounced: 

"Have a good time, Cass?" 

"Splendid. How did you like the Senator?" 

"He s a fool." 

"Yes, he does rathdr bear that reputation. But he's always 
been clever at picking useful brothers-in-law." 

149 



"Why were you so excited by having the old pot condescend 
to you?" 

"M?" 

"He doesn't even know anything about politics, only about 
politicians. He doesn't know half as much as Tracy Oleson or 
Mr. Hubbs." Then, clearly as an afterthought, "Or as you. 
Why did you ever drag in the old idiot?" 

"Because I thought he would amuse you." 

"Dullness doesn't amuse me." 

"I picked him out for you the way I did your coral necklace. 
I wouldn't want to rub my face against the coral, either. Don't 
be so youthfully censorious. If you don't care to have Hudbury 
for your collection, if you don't want me to shoot him and stuff 
him for you, we'll throw him out. . . . Jinny! . . . Sweetl" 

"I know, darling! I am censorious. And young. And I do try 
to show off my superiority. I'm sorry. Some day, I'll grow up." 

And of that quarrel there was nothing more. But Cass was 
thinking nervously that for years yet she would be impulsive, 
hasty to judge him, aggressively independent, like the other 
children of her Positively Final New Modern Revolutionary 
Age which by 1970 would have come to seem such a naive Old- 
fashioned Age. 

Like all these girls, she feels and how can you blame her 

that she must have her own life. Besides that, I'm no longer 
the family priest to her or a guide or a refuge; I'm just A Hus- 
band. And I don't even care much, so long as she'll let me go 
on being thatl 

There was nothing in the Specimen Hudbury that Jinny had 
not been able to identify from her Pioneer Falls collecting. In 
fact he looked like the local pre-motor livery-stable keeper who 
was still sitting in front of his empty barn, still covered with 
hay-dust, waiting for this automobile craze to pass. 

But she was impressed and a little confused when they went 
to lunch at Berjhold Eisenherz's villa, and so was Cass. At the 
villa dance they had met Berthold only as a sort of private head- 
waiter. Now, they collided with him as a personality. 

The only thing about him to hint that he was not a gentle- 

150 



man was that he too consistently looked too much like a gen- 
tleman. He had devoted the voluminous money that his grand- 
father had made, as a Minnesota pioneer, by skinning beaver 
and redskins, to Harvard and Heidelberg and the Sorbonne and 
a black-eyed, red-tempered Latvian girl who spoke all lan- 
guages, in arjd out of bed, and so had qualified himself for the 
American diplomatic corps, in which, before he got tired, he 
had risen to first secretary in a minor legation. 

He looked like a German who was trying to look like an 
Englishman. He had been married, now and then, to the daugh- 
ters of German-American millionaires, who played pianos and 
barons. At fifty, he was bald and not officially married; he was 
bald and erect and soft-spoken. In Palm Beach he wore the 
monocle that even he did not dare to display back home in 
Grand Republic, where Swedish and Finnish urchins and Roy 
Drover and Boone Havock would have made exactly the same 
rather Freudian comments upon it. 

He had the Timberlanes for one of his better Grade-B lunch- 
eons, with one actress, one lady pianist, one viscountess, a Swiss 
violinist, and an economist from New Zealand. At the flower- 
strewn, yellow-damask covered table, on the terrace looking to 
the Southern sea, the Timberlanes listened while the viscountess 
tried to talk faster than the pianist. 

Berthold himself talked only to Jinny, asking her questions 
in a manner that made her feel solid and original. 

Afterward, Jinny confided to Cass, "That was fun. The vis- 
vy-whateveritis-countess was silly, but I think your friend 
Berthold is wonderful. I always heard so much about him in 
Grand Republic, but I never saw him before. Will we see him 
when he goes back in the spring?" 

"I guess so. If we want to." 

'Isn't he hard to know?" 

" 'Hard to know? Why should he be? Just because he's rich? 
Back home, we're not as naive as Palm Beach. We know where 
his monev came from!" 

* 

"No, I don't mean ^because he's rich*! Because he's wise and 
charming, and he treats a colt like me as though I were ayou 
know a countess, too. And the way he can speak French! And 

151 



knows all about Bessarabia! And kiss the hand! My hand's still 
tingling from it. Oh, boy!" 

"If you're going out for international society, along with Ex- 
cellency Bertie, you can't mix your dialects, and say 'Oh, boyT 

"Okay. But don't you like Bertie?" 

"Would you be surprised if I said he's even phonier than 
Senator Hudbury?" 

"I certainly would. And I would be fairly sure fairly sure 
that you were going jealous on me again." 

He gaped. It was true; he was jealous; jealous of Eisenherz, 
not because he owned a palace but be'cause with it he had been 
able to impress Jinny; not that he knew the Deauville patter 
but that he could make Jinny admire it. 

He was quick about getting the proper forgiveness, so that 
could not be called a quarrel. 

There came a hot and humid evening, and Aucassin and 
Nicolette acted like Auggie and Nig. For two days they had 
been idle, soaked in sun, confidently making love, and that sen- 
sible uselessness had been too much for two people so per- 
petually active. 

They drove over to West Palm Beach to see a super and mad- 
dening movie, and they were unhappy and nervous. He tried to 
hold her hand, and she drew hers away. She said it was too 
damp. 

He watched her anxiously, and so she watched him protest- 
ingly, and when they had worked up a fine, thick, hateful ten- 
sion, he wanted to cough. 

He felt that she was just waiting for him to do something ob- 
jectionable like that, cough and whoop and spatter in a public 
place and so he couldn't do it, and so he wanted all the more 
to cough, until the entire subsolar world was one horror of sup- 
pressed coughing, and he let go in one gargantuan throaty bel- 
low, and, beside him, she gave off electric sparks of rage. Then, 
in ostentatious indifference, he crossed his legs, and his garter 
came loose, and he had to make a public presentation of stoop- 
ing down to fasten it. 

He insisted on a sundae after the movie and naturally, being 

152 



normally a tidy man, he now dropped chocolate sauce on his 
white shirt. 

"Disgusting!" she muttered. 

She sadistically scrubbed it into a worse mess with her hand- 
kerchief, and they drove back to the hotel in a great hot silence. 
So when he was brushing his teeth, he dropped a white spot of 
toothpaste on his slipper, and she saw it, oh, she saw it, and 
she said: 

"Disgusting!" 

She thought it over, with all of a good woman's earnestness, 
and spoke as to a seven-year-old brat whom even his grand- 
mothers had agreed to murder: 

"Cass, can't you ever pay the least bit of attention to your 
personal habits?" 

"Whaaaat?" 

"I know youVe lived alone so much, but still you're supposed 
to be an intelligent man, and why you don't even notice it 
when you act like a pig your sloppy table-manners and 'yank- 
ing your garter around right out in front of people why do you 
deliberately go and pick out garters that are guaranteed to come 
loose? And dribbling spots on your vest and your dressing-gown, 
and as for your lapels 

"I deny all of that/ 

"Dribbling. Constantly/ 

"I do not dribble! You found one spot on my lapel, a month 
ago . . . before we'd gone and got married. But if it were true, 
and I slopped around like a half-wit, I'd expect you to shut up 
about it. I'm neither a New England housewife nor a pansy. I 
want your love, but not because of my exterior decoration. If 
you're going to go on watching me, expecting me to act like 
an ordinary vulgar Middlewestern male well, that's what I am. 
I haven't one single extraordinary virtue except my devotion to 
you. If you want to take advantage of that, I'm helpless. But 
beloved, my beloved, don't you lose something when you make 
me into a swine?" 

She ran to him, and she was crying, lovely in repentance. 

"I didn't realize I was picking on you. I was just letting my 
big mouth run on, as Eino used to say. It didn't really mean any- 

153 



yy 

yy 



thing more than all the silly kidding that Lyra and Tracy and I 
used to do. I forgot you're so touchy." 

"Am I very touchy?" 

"Like a racehorse. But that's why I love you. Oh, my dearest, 
I'll never let you go into politics or be a judge or anything like 
that. Your hide is about as thick as tissue paper. Kiss me." Her 
kiss was that of a naughty child distraught to find that she has 
hurt her friend. "I truly think you're the greatest man living. 
That's why I was cross -with you about Senator Hudbury: that 
you didn't realize how much bigger you are than him than he? 
whichever it is. You know, I'm not really ungrateful. I know 
I'm lucky to * 

"Sweet, don't go on. You're making me feel like a lug for even 
spitting back at you. ... I do love you so!" 

"Identical, pal." But her effort to be funny was pathetic, and 
she looked so forlorn. 

It was after half an hour of tenderness that Cass said, "I'm 
sure now we'll never have another quarrel." 

"Never!" 

"And so I'm going to risk my life and criticize you for over- 
dressing." 

"M?" 

"At lunch at Bertie's, didn't you notice the rigid millionaire 
simplicity of that blasted countess? But you had on a bouton- 
niere and a necklace and two bracelets and a comic-dog breast- 
pin and a rhinestone buckle on your hat. Too much." 

"Too Pioneer Falls, eh?" 

"Still, why shouldn't you be?" 

"Because I am the wife of a judge that ought to be on the 
Supreme Court bench right now, and I mean it!" 

She must have slipped down to the lobby while he was bath- 
ing, while he was feeling proud of himself for having asserted 
his power and ashamed of himself for having so priggishly 
bullied so defenseless a little criminal. For there she was, shyly 
holding out a small Modern Library edition of South Wind, and 
begging, "It's a repentance present." 

He almost wept then, while Isis, on the bureau, stretched 
herself with ancient despair. 

154 



There could never be any more quarrels or jealousy. Never. 

On the bathing-beach, when numerous men were attentive 
to the pleasant sight of her straight smooth legs, and got ac- 
quainted with her apropos of a dog, a daughter, a cigarette- 
light, or the quick sketches of the bathers that Jinny sometimes 
made in charcoal, then Cass was proud that he felt no jealousy. 

Might as well get used to it. When we get back, prob- 
ably every friend I have Roy, Bradd, Jay, Harley, Frank, Greg 
the whole bunch of *em will try to make her. Not a chance, 
gentlemen. There's no malice, no treachery, no intrigue in my 
Jinny. Going to be none of this "modern, civilized, urbane" sleep- 
ing around and getting complicated in our house. 

Their first Christmas dinner together was at Eisenherz's villa. 
It was a Grand Republic dinner and full of the double joy 
of loving the home town and of being able to get away from 
it in winter. Webb and Louise Wargate were there, just come 
in, and Madge Dedrick. There was apprehensive talk about 
the war, and the Wargates expected to rush home early, but 
there were also hot rum punch and tangoing and holly and kisses 
as harmless as 1890 though not more so and Bertie and Madge 
said that Jinny was going to be their dearest friend for life, 
starting about March 20th, on their annual bird-flight back to 
Grand Republic. 

But the real Christmas was later that night, when Cass and 
Jinny stood on the balcony of their suite, looking at the tran- 
quil glow of Lake Worth, and she sighed, "111 never forget 
today. Especially, I won't forget our standing here, us two. And 
I'm glad we're going back home us two! I don't really fall too 
much for this Palm Beach glamor. I know it's just gambling with 
counterfeit money." 

"I'm glad. I was afraid maybe I'm too rustic for all the 
nobility." 

"No, you're too independent. Cass, I'm very happy. Ill always 
be very happy with you." 

They came into the station at Grand Republic in a snowstorm. 



An Assemblage of Husbands and Wives 

GEORGE HAME & FRIENDS 

THE RETURN of Judge Timberlane to his court room was marked 
by an impassive "Glad to see you back, Judge" from Humbert 
Bellile, the bailiff, a hand-shake from the clerk of court, and 
"Now we can get going nice trip, Chief ?" from George Hame, 
the court reporter. 

They were quiet and competent men, though bored, and it 
appeared evident from seeing them run the court machinery 
that they had nothing so disturbing in their lives as wives to 
hate or trust, daughters to be worried about, ambitions to be 
defended; nothing more complex than the conduct of dull agri- 
cultural arson cases. 

Hame and Bellile went, after court, to the Cockrobin Bar, 
and had comforting conversation with Ed Oleson, the barber, 
and Leo Jensing, the electrician. 

"See your boss is back from his honeymoon, George/' said 
Oleson. 

"Looks fit 's a fiddle. Incidentally, the best judge in the State. 
Born professional." 

"What kind of a girl he marry?" 

"Cute little trick, bright 's a dollar. Hope she appreciates 
him." 

Jensing yawned, "Those rich guys that belong to the Federal 
Club certainly do marry the swellest dames. Well, they can 
have 'em. Ill bet they're all a bunch of headaches. My old 
woman and II always tell her she looks like a constipated 
chicken, and she says I look like a stubble field she's dumb 
and she was brought up a Seventh Day Adventist, but we get 
along like nobody's business. I cuff the kids and send 'em off 
to bed and then I get a can of beer and we strip down to our 
undershirts and sit around and tell lies and yap about what rats 
our neighbors are and generally enjoy life. The Judge can keep 
his cutie, and that goes for all the fat boys in the Federal Club. 
Say, ever been in that club, George? What kind of a dump is it?" 

ISfi 



Mr. Hame explained, "I often take papers to the Judge there. 
It's a pretty swell joint, at that! All wood paneling and the 
bar's like a chapel, stone arches and floor. But you know what 
you can do with the whole club! Lot of landlords telling each 
other Roosevelt is a Communist, like it was a piece they learned 
at school/* 

Ed Oleson was eager. "You ask me about the Federal Club! 
I go there all the time, to shave the upper-bracket crooks when 
they got too big a hang-over to walk. Oh, a lot of 'em are okay; 
Webb Wargate is a real constructive citizen, and Judge Black- 
staff he's just as good a judge as your boss, George, and tips 
you four bits, like a gentleman. But Prutt, the banker, he never 
gives you a cent explains they don't tip, in a club. Hell, I ain't 
a club servant; I got my own independent business and I don't 
have to shave any cactus-faced old gentleman-virgin unless I 
feel like it. 

"But the worst guy there is that Boone Havock. Say, why de- 
cent people ever let him in their houses is beyond me. I've been 
called in to shave that cut-throat when he was so drunk he 
couldn't go home and had to take a room at the club, and he 
told and volunteered and told me that he'd spent the night with 
a tart in a shack down in the South End and then got her cock- 
eyed and cheated her out of her five bucks, and he boasted 
about it. 

"My son Tracy, that works for Wargate, has got more brains 
and financial savvy than the whole club put together. By the 
way, Tracy knows Judge Timberlane's bride; says she's a high- 
class girl. And talking of wives, I'm like Leo here: my old girl 
and I have a swell time, especially now the kids are grown up. 
We go out hunting and canoeing like a couple of Indians. That's 
the kind of a wife I like." 

George Hame rose, jeering, "Glad to hear there's so many 
square-shooting wives around this burg. I congratulate you 
boys." 

The bailiff, also rising: "Same here. Fellows that 're out from 
behind the matrimonial eight-ball like you two must have 
money to spare. We'll allow you to pay for the drinks." 

Jensing crowed, "Just to prove it, I will buy *em!" 

157 



"Any time you're in for rape, Leo, just remind me that I 
used to know you, and I'll get the Judge to let you off with life." 
said Hame. "Good night." 

Bailiff Bellile, as he entered his brown Cape Cod cottage, 
waited for his wife to say, "Have you wiped your feet? I try 
so hard to keep things nice here, and then you come home drunk 
and get everything all dirty." 

She said it 

She waited for him to say, in echo of his days as a lumber- 
camp teamster, "I wish to God I were drunk, and maybe it 
wouldn't make me so sick to look at you." 

He said it 

Ed Oleson went noisily into his upstairs half of a two-family 
house, and his aging wife chirped, "It's the old master himself. 
Have a good time with the boys?" 

"I'll say! Wish you'd been along." 

"Whyntcha invite me?" 

"Juvecome?" 

"Try it and seel Bet I would. Smell something nice?" 

"And how! What is it?" 

"Real Hunky goulash." 

"Now you don't tell me." He kissed her. 

"Nice time in the shop today?" 

"Fellow here from Rochester, New York, he told me all about 
how well lick the Japs with a secret weapon we got. Say, 111 
bet Tracy 11 be in the war, and be a major." 

"If his lungs are all healed up. Golly, Ed, aren't you proud 
of that boy!" 

"Say, don't you quote me and don't let the newspapers get 
hold of it, but I'm nuts about him. The damn little hick think 
of him headed for the top of the Wargate Corporation some 
day!" 

"And let me tell you, Mr. Ed Oleson, they'll be lucky to get 
him!" 

"Ill say. How about lassoing that goulash now?" 

'1 think you got something there, Mister. Let's go!" 

158 



There was no ugly noise between George Hame and his wife, 
Ethel, when he came coldly into their freight-car of a house, 
but only an uglier silence. That was agreeable to him, because 
there was for him a poisonous boredom in what he considered 
her spiritless and hopeless fussing, her whimpering demands 
for money. 

He looked at her over the Dumas he was always reading. 
She was hemming a pot-holder made of red calico. 

"Much too bright for her," he muttered. 

"What?" 

"Nothing . . . You certainly will drive me nuts/' 

"What say?" 

"Nothing." 

Then another baby yelled. They had five of them, arid all 
unwanted. But there was also their fifteen-year-old daughter, 
Betty, whom he loved. 

He said placidly, "All I exist for is to supply you with brats 
and lactation/' 

"And whose fault " 

"Yours. If you'd take a little care of yourself As Montaigne 

observes, this place is always obscene with new dripping babies, 
and smells like wet death." 

She knew enough then not to speak. When he mentioned Mon- 
taignepronounced Montaigny he was likely to hit her with his 
seal ring. 

Betty came in, round and pert as a bouncing tennis ball. 

"Hello, Daddy," she said, as she raced for the stairs, and 
"Hello, sweetheart" he answered, looking up after her new 
nylon stockings and old shoes. 

His wife was afraid not to speak now.- "George! I will not 
have you looking at Betty that way!" 

"So you will not Jiave it! So what?" 

He returned to Dumas. 

Some day, he thought, Betty and he would run off together 
to France, to the shrine of Dumas. She looked much older than 
fifteen, didn't she? He dreamed about this always, and always 
knew that he would never do it. He knew that he would hold 
to his wife. She irritated him, but he was lonely without her on 

159 



the evenings when she was visiting her incessantly sick relatives 
and Betty was out with one of the neighborhood boys whom he 
hated. He was lonely not because he had no treasures in him- 
self, for he could renew them out of Dumas or Scott or Wash- 
ington Irving, nor because he could not take comfort in solitude, 
but because he was afraid that when Betty discovered how he 
felt toward her and vituperatively left him forever, then no one 
in the world but Ethel would stay by him, no one else would 
blame it on Betty. 

He guessed that Judge Timberlane would kick him out, if 
the Judge discovered his thoughts about Betty, and he was 
sorry, because, though he considered the Judge a little too naive, 
he also believed him to be the Archangel Michael. 

With the firmness of the will to death, he waited for Betty 
to come down and pass through the room again. The other chil- 
dren panted in and out, but their noise was so blurred that it 
was to him like an absolute silence. 

"Don't you want any supper?" grated his wife. 

"What? I suppose so. I never thought about it . . . Oh, Betty, 
going out? Get home early now, sweetheart. I'll sit up for you." 

"Swell, Daddy," she condescended. 

Then he felt gay, and he looked amiably at his wife. When 
he saw her expression, he froze and returned to Dumas. 



160 



25 



THAT THEY SHOULD return to Grand Republic on an early Janu- 
ary day when the sun came out after a snowstorm, that Mrs. 
Higbee should be at the door to greet the young chatelaine, 
that flowers should have come from Diantha Marl and Bradd 
Criley, and a shaker of already-mixed cocktails from Queenie 
Havock, that Jinny should coo, "Bergheim is an awfully stately 
old place, isn't it!" was all so exactly the Judge's idea of what 
was fitting that it bothered him. There was no responsible wor- 
rying to be done! 

Cleo, now a proud young cat, came galloping hysterically 
downstairs when she heard their voices. Then she pretended 
that she didn't even know them, but had just happened to be 
passing that way. In fact she stayed about for an hour, to make 
sure that they saw how she ignored them. 

They were content, but they found the town in the war. 

Even the citizens who six weeks before had said, "We're 
going to mind our own business and not get into any war" were 
declaring, "We ought to have gone to Great Britain's aid two 
years ago, but now we're in, and we won't quit till Hitler and 
Hirohito are wiped out." 

Eino Roskinen, Curtiss Havock, Jack Prutt, and Jamie War- 
gate, Webb's second-oldest boy, were already in uniform as pri- 
vates, and Tom Crenway, in escape from his anesthetically 
amorous Violet, was a major. Violet herself was the rival of 
Diantha Marl and Delia Lent for leadership of women's war 
activities: Red Cross, Civilian Defense, scrap-collection. Of 
the Brothers-in-Law, Inc., the spouses of the Zebra Sisters, Al- 
fred Umbaugh was now a colonel in the department of sup- 
plies, and his Zeta was adequately managing his Button Bright 
Stores chain, while Harold W. Whittick, the advertising man, 
had taken over the patriotism of Grand Republic as once he had 
taken over its future. 

All of these were anxious and faithful, but there was comedy 
in the case of that absentee warrior, Fred Nimbus of Station 
KICH. 

161 



On December 10, ult, young Mr. Nimbus had begun a bi- 
weekly series of radio stories about the adventures of the 
Marines, in which he was author, director, and star. They were 
so lively that even a few Marines liked them, and there was a 
general feeling abroad that Mr. Nimbus, in his studio, was the 
most daring warrior in the state and that upon hearing his voice, 
thousands of Japanese dashed up the palm trees. 

All of this the Timberlanes learned as they were starting their 
career as a decorous and settled Young Couple. 

Two days after their return, the cold wave struck; the ther- 
mometer was at ten, fifteen, twenty-two degrees below zero; 
all the separate lawns turned into one snowfield, as though the 
cold prairie had taken over the town; and snow-devils whirled 
across them. No matter how they wrapped in fur and wool, their 
foreheads could not be protected from the aching sting of the 
cold. But before Jinny could moan for the ease and freedom of 
the Florida warmth, Cass had her out on skis, flying down the 
Ottawa Hill, and they were triumphant and alive. 

He expected Jinny to turn Bergheim into a magazine supple- 
ment, and he was financially armed for it. He had been living 
on his salary as judge and. saving the three or four thousand 
dollars a year that came from the rents which he had inherited 
from his father. 

"Go to it," he said. "Kick out any of the old furniture that gets 
impertinent to you/* 

"No. I'm not going to change hardly a thing." She spoke with 
a new and matronly responsibility. 'Ill just refurnish my own 
room which I love, by the way; it's so light, with such a view 
over the valley. But the rest of the house, the old things belong 

. . 

to it. 

He admired and wondered. 

"And then, too, all your friends will be expecting the child 
bride to raise Cain with the household gods, and it's our duty 
to fool 'em." 

He wondered and adored. 

"And why waste the money now? Some day soon we'll get 

162 



a lovely new modern house of our own, with no smell of Eisen- 
herz furs and sauerkraut/* 

He adored and fretted. 

Her notion of a "lovely new house" would cost a great deal 
of money. But it did not occur to him to refuse. 

She was as practical as laundry soap. Her newly decked room 
did have a flowery dressing-table with twenty-two small and 
rather redundant bottles and jars of cosmetics, urban and ex- 
tremely expensive, but the walls betrayed the small-town girl 
in its sheaf of photographs and souvenirs: Jinny Marshland at 
six, with kitten; Cousin Joe Marshland, who was how an insur- 
ance agent in Gopher Prairie; Douglas Fairbanks as a movie 
bandit; Eino and Tracy in astounding straw hats; the program 
of the Pioneer Falls High School Commencement Exercises, 
May, 1934, silver print on scarlet paper, class motto "Per Aspera 
ad Astra," salutatorian, Miss Virginia Marshland. 

While her own retreat was being redecorated, she was gen- 
erously invited to lodge with Cass, and when she crept into 
his room, her bare feet in woolly slippers like white rabbits, 
and slipped into his monumental bed, they clutched at each 
other with a stimulating feeling of danger and wickedness. 

Lying with one leg impudently cocked in the air, her toes 
wriggling, she crooned, "I am Judge Timberlane's little mis- 
tress/' 

"Jinny!" 

"And the proudest of his Circassian slaves. The concubines 
of the seven Kings of Blackstaff envy my breastplate of onyx 
and my Abyssinian lace slacks." 

'Why, Jinny!" 

"Does it shock you when I say I'm your mistress?" 

"Well, not uh not shock me " 

"I see, Venerable. You mean it merely shocks you!" 

"Yes, it does!" 

She giggled 

He was sorry when she grandly started to sleep in her own 
virtuous-looking narrow bed. Somehow he was afraid to go un- 
bidden into her room, as she never was to enter his. 

To her maidenly room he added one gift: a white fur rug. 

163 



She used to sit with her folded bare feet deep in its fleecy 
warmth, and talk about immortality. 

In the rooms other than her own, her practicality was evident. 
She had more floor-plugs put in, and replaced the old lamps, 
which resembled moth-eaten velvet mosques erected upon 
bronze crutches, with lamps of simple shafts and clear parch- 
ment shades. She dismissed teak thrones, and ponderous cur- 
tains that for generations had been the graveyards of flies and 
lightning-bugs. The house suddenly had more light and air 
and gaiety, and at night you did not fall over relics. 

And she installed a popcorn shaker, an electric drink-mixer, 
an electric washing-machine, a set of dominoes. . . . 

Her one Bohemian extravagance as an artist was a highly 
modernist design which she drew on the inside of the down- 
stairs coat-closet door, in gold radiator-paint and two shades of 
red nail-polish. It showed two angels, one holding a banner 
lettered "C" and one with a "J," joyfully flying together. It 
agitated the more sober citizenry, but to Cass it was a major 
work. 

He had at last the chance to complete her instruction in chess. 

It was an edifying and domestic sight: the large man in a 
doubtful brown-flannel dressing-gown and red slippers; the girl 
in quilted pink silk, with her small white woolly slippers; the 
board and the old ivory pieces which Cass's father had bought 
in San Francisco; all before the fire in the library, where now 
a clearer light displayed the blue buckram set of "The World's 
Most Distinguished Legal Orations, with Sketches of Leaders 
of the Bench and Bar, Profusely Illustrated." 

Jinny took to chess with zeal and lawlessness. She began with 
an eloquent prejudice against the rooks. 

She was a true animist; she believed that all inanimate objects 
gloves, flatirons, automobiles, stars, lilies, pork chopshad 
souls and that all animals had human intelligence; and further- 
more she almost one-quarter believed in her own belief. 

Brooding over the chessmen, she said that the rooks were 
smug-looking and flat-headed, with stubbly cropped hair, and 

164 



she scolded them for loafing in the home rank all through the 
hottest of the game, and then sneaking out to kidnap some 
bishop who had been working hard and taking risks, and who 
looked so slim and neat and friendly. 

She developed a surrealist criticism of the chess-rules. Why 
shouldn't a king be able to castle under check? 

"Because it's the rule/' said Judge Timberlane. 

"Why is it the rule?" 

"Because it is!" 

"Look, silly," she explained. "The king, bless his poor scared 
heart the way he has to skip around, with even these G.I. 
pawns threatening to bump him off all the time and so when 
he's in check, when he's in danger and really needs to castle, 
then you won't let him! Why not?" 

"Because it's the " 

"Who ever made the rule?" 

"Heavens, I don't know. I suppose some old Persian." 

"Persians make rugs. They don't make rules." 

"Well, this one did." 

"How do you know he was a Persian? How do you know he 
was old?" 

"I don't." She was so spirited a debater, so much more bellig- 
erent an advocate than any Hervey Plint or Vincent Osprey, 
that by now he was half -serious. 

"You don't know? Then maybe there isn't any such a rulel 
Maybe you just dreamed it." 

"Well, good Lord, all players keep it * 

"How do you know they do? Did you ever see Capablanca 
or Reuben Fine refuse to castle just because a king was being 
bullied by some mean bishop? (And I used-to like the bishops, 
silly girl that I was, but now I'm onto them. ) Did you?" 

"Of course I didn't. I've never seen any master play." 

"There! Maybe there isn't any such a rule. Maybe they only 
have it in Minnesota. We're wonderful in Minnesota about 
wheat and iron and removing gall-stones, but what right have 
we got to dictate to the rest of the world about castling?" 

"Dear idiot child, you'll be asking next how I know you and I 
are really married, and who made up the marriage code.* 

165 



"I do ask it! How do you know we aren't living in sin, accord- 
ing to the Mohammedans?" 

-r >* 

f 

"Maybe I ought to walk right out of here, and go to living 
with Abby Tubbs or Jay Laverick or Senator Hudbury, or my 
sweet Bertie. What's to prevent it?" 

"Only me and a shotgun." 

"You see? You only believe in violence; you don't believe in 
the rules of marriage or of my not castling, either!" 

"Just the same, you can't castle." 

"Bully!" 

"Get on with the game, and don't be so reasonable. A gir) 
that would criticize the corpus of chess-laws would criticize 




k 





'Tin not sure that's so hot, either/ 

"Get on with the game!" 

But the real debate and he was never quite sure that there 
was not some reality at the core of her pretended rebellions 
against Authority came when he first revealed to her, from 
among the more appalling secret human motives, that by creep- 
ing up to the eighth rank, his pawn had suddenly become a 
queen, and that she was thus about to be checkmated. 

"That's the most ridiculous claim I ever heard in my life! 
Why? Now don't tell me it's the rule. It can't be. I know that 
pawn. It's got a tiny nick in its head." (This was true, though 
Cass had never noticed it.) 'It's an unusually stupid, unco- 
operative pawn. It never could be a queen. Impossible! I won't 
recognize the government!" 

"Don't you like rules, Jinny?" 

"Well, I like you/' 

"Let me be didactic, Jin." 

"Okay." 

"Don't say 'Okay'!" 

"Why not?" 

"It sounds like a gum-chewer." 

"But I am a gum-chewer." 

"You are not, and you're not going to be. Look. I don't bully 
you about many things I'd like to, but I'm too scared of you. 

166 



But I want each of us to teach the other something of his atti- 
tude! me teach you that there's satisfaction in being a sober 
grind and mastering even a game, like chess; and you teach 
me that there's nothing legally wrong about letting go and just 
having a good time. Can't we?" 

They gravely shook hands on it, seeing before them the 
white highway of pious self-instruction whereon every day in 
every way they would get not only better but more blithe; as- 
sured that he would become a first-class grasshopper and she 
one of the most social-minded ants in the whole three-foot 
mountain. 

She said, with a slight shade of reverence, "When you lec- 
ture me, you sound like a real judge on the bench." 

"Does it annoy you?" 

"I love it. You know, pal, I'm not too sure I'm going to win 
this battle of marriage. I get around you by being the gay 
'ittle girl the blasted little gold-digger! but you're too accurate 
and dependable for me." 

"And sometimes I'm fun, ain't I?" 

"Ye-es, sometimes oh, quite often." 

"But you won't lose the battle, Jin. The worthy blacksmith 
hasn't much chance against Ariel." 

"You're balled up in your mythology, Judge. Ariel was not 
a girl." 

"Which you distinctly are, my dear." 

There was something in the smile with which she acknowl- 
edged this alluring fact which made him blush. Then, like a 
cat, her head low and a little sidewise, she cautiously stalked 
a pawn with her queen's bishop, and pounced. 

Cass wondered where he had heard the theory that people, 
especially women, who are too devoted to animals are more 
callous toward human beings. Was it a folk tale or reasoned 
observation or spite, or all three? Remembering it, he was 
slightly worried, in a husbandly way, that Jinny was so ecstatic 
over all animals, from the mounted policemen's horses and the 
elephant in Wargate Park Zoo to the lone goldfish in a bowl 
which she sheepishly brought home from the Five and Ten. 

167 



To Cleo she gave an attention which gratified that bland and 
conceited cat. She maintained that Cleo had to have thef best 
liver, the sweetbread meant by Mrs. Higbee for the Master, 
and a menagerie of catnip mice. For Cleo she busily knitted 
a set of mittens, red mittens edged with yellow, each the size of 
a large thimble, for walks in the snow. When they were tried out, 
Cleo merely kicked off three of them, but the fourth she pounced 
on with a yell and chewed to pieces, while Jinny looked forlorn. 

The gift of a gold string from some ancient Christmas pack' 
age was Jinny's greatest success. This was Cleo's private string, 
daily rescued from the wood-box or a pan of batter or a toilet, 
and coiled beside her pink wicker basket, near the kitchen 
stove. She leaped into the air to clutch it, and furiously got 
snarled in it, and in it was suspended from the back of a chair. 
She spent hours hiding under curtains, wagging herself, try- 
ing to catch the string napping. 

Jinny also acquired, within three months, a tragic-eyed 
cocker-spaniel pup named Alfred, who was terrified of Cleo, 
a canary which every night Cleo tried to eat, a depraved and 
miserable lizard, and two lambs made of wool and pretty in- 
active. 

Jinny loved them all and tried to get them to love one an- 
other, with about the usual success of missionaries ever since 
Jonah. 

Cass wished, sometimes, that in addition to the gay affection 
which Jinny gave him, he could have the yearning she poured 
on Cleo and on that faker and love-beggar, the dog Alfred. 

Except when they differed over Jinny's purloining the Mas- 
ter's coming dinner for Cleo, Mrs. Higbee was Jinny's ally in 
spoiling every mangy feline and hound in the neighborhood, 
and Cass always had a suspicion that somewhere in the laby- 
rinthian basement of Bergheim the two women were conceal- 
ing lost and very valuable pigeons, panthers, and hippopotami. 

From his bedroom he heard them conspiring again, in Jinny's 
cave. 

"Miss Jinny, now you got that new traveling clock, why don't 
you let me have this red celluloid one for the kitchen? Kitchen 
clock don't keep time." 

168 



"Oh, I couldn't, Mrs. Higbee, I simply couldn't! I've had my 
little red clock for four years. It came from Pioneer Falls with 
me, and it waked me every single morning when I was on the 
job at the factory. Its feelings would be dreadfully hurt if I 
exiled it to the kitchen." 

"Maybe something to that. We'll get the Judge to buy us a 



new one." 



He came out of hiding to examine the two witches: "I'll bet 
both of you believe in palmistry and astrology." 

"Doesn't every nice woman?" challenged Jinny. 

Mrs. Higbee reflected, "I don't believe in any of those things, 
but it's awful funny what you find in a person's hand." 

The witches, primitive and powerful, looked at each other 
darkly, with contempt for the shallowness of this childish in- 
quistor with his books and his pride in reasoning. 

In early spring, Alfred the dog died suddenly of cat-fur, only 
a few weeks after his appearance in history. Cass expected 
hysteria from Jinny, and plans for a torchlight funeral, but she 
said absently. "He was such a nice pup; sorry he went. But, 
darling, let's not have another dog for a while. I'm not sure- 
she's too polite to show itbut I think Cleo is annoyed by dogs. 
They get so noisy when she merely wants to tease them a little." 



An Assemblage of Husbands and Wives 

SABINE GROSSENWAHN 

YEARS AGO, when Boone Havock was not a railroad-builder but 
a saloon bouncer, a thoroughly worthless brother had followed 
him to Minnesota and there died in the odor of rye whisky, leav- 
ing a luscious-limbed and just slightly nymphomaniac daugh- 
ter named Sabine in charge of Boone, who was very rigid and 
moral about women, that is, if they were his daughters or 
nieces. He sent Sabine to Sunday school, and in 1929, when 
she was eighteen, he shipped her East, to a fine rustling school 
in the Hudson Valley. 

At a dance she met and in a dance she married one Ferdinand 
Grossenwahn, a fat, fifty-ridden New York stockbroker who was 
later known to Sabine's friends as "Pore Ole Ferdy." On the 
evening of her wedding-day, she slipped away for an hour with 
a handsome dancing-man whom she had met that afternoon, 
and when Ferdy found them and was stuffy about it, she slapped 
him. 

As soon as she had succeeded in the new feminine career of 
lucratively divorcing her husband, she returned to Grand Re- 
public, where her waved hair, delicate as a sea shell, her sables, 
and her fifteen-hundred-a-month alimony were greater rarities 
than in Manhattan. 

Besides the alimony, Pore Ole Ferdy had given her a fifty- 
thousand-dollar cash bonus for leaving him in peace and dig- 
nity, and she built a house known throughout Minnesota as 
f'Alimony Hall." It was in the shape of a double L, and the 
leafy courtyard, on the bluff overhanging the Sorshay River 
valley, was full all summer long of ivy and syringa and rose- 
bushes, of glass-topped tables and plaid table-parasols and 
wheeled reclining-chairs like portable divans, with an outdoor 
grill and an outdoor bar; full of laughter and swing music on 
the phonograph and women who wanted sympathy and men 
who called it that It is to be said for Sabine's good nature that, 
provided they did not attack her own current young man, she 

170 



was almost as willing to provide secluded rooms for her women 
friends and their affairs as for her own. 

Most frequent of the Alimony Hall Set were Jay Laverick, 
Harley Bozard, Cousin Curtiss Havock, Bradd Criley, Fred 
Nimbus, Norton Trock but he never bothered women Gil- 
lian Brown, who despised Sabine, Cerise, consort of that earnest 
young legal prig, Vincent Osprey, and, somewhat disapprov- 
ingly, Rose Pennloss. 

Norton Trock dated himself by quoting Omar Khayyam at 
their gatherings, but the talk ran oftener to adultery and gin 
than to wine and roses. 

None of them, except Sabine, Harley, and Cousin Curtiss, 
who had met him briefly in New York, had ever seen Pore Ole 
Ferdy Grossenwahn, but they all talked as though he were 
their oppressive and ridiculous uncle. They referred to her ali- 
mony as "our income/' While Sabine and Gillian giggled, they 
debated whether Ferdy was worth more to them living or dead, 
for Sabine had assured them, "I honestly do think that if the 
old fool doesn't get married again, he will at least have the de- 
cency to leave me everything in his will." 

They laughed while she told them about Ferdy *s fat amo- 
rousness, or read them his current letters, which betrayed him 
by such puerile phrases as, "Though I never could satisfy you 
& I sure was not worthy of your spiritual gifts and bright way 
of talking, you must admit that my solicitude for you is un- 
wavering & sure can count on me always, dear babe o' mine, for 
such financial assistance as able." 

During her affair with Fred Nimbus, who was a couple of 
years younger than herself and a fine athletic radio-announcer, 
it amused both of them that her stupid exrhusband would not 
even know that he was supporting her lover. "Mustn't be jealous 
of Pore Ole Ferdy or talk naughty about him/' she whispered 
to Fred. "You don't think he was romantic, but he certainly 
is contributing to a high-class romance now. So shut up and kiss 

?> 

me. 

Sabine was not so simple in her moods that she always ridi- 
culed Pore Ole Ferdy. Sometimes for a whole week she spoke 
of him with repentant reverence: "All of you shut your traps 

171 



about Ferdy. I'm not altogether sold on the idea that he wasn't 
worthy of me. God knows he was hard to live with, and a cold 
fish, but he always treated me with the most scrupulous honor, 
and in fact he's a perfect gentleman, and I want to tell you 
that there's no man on the Exchange that has a more prophetic 
sense about a bear-market than Ferdy." 

But sometimes, to show that she was no parasite weakling, 
she was resentful and firm with Ferdy. He once wrote that he 
was hard-up and would like to reduce her "income" for a month 
or two, and she had the courage and sense of responsibility to 
answer, "All this is a matter of court record, and if you haven't 
got the dough now, that's just too bad I And you better hustle 
around and get it, not do the cry-baby act! I don't know what's 
gotten into you. I think it might help you come to your senses 
if you took this right into court. You seem to forget you took 
on an obligation in our legal settlement, and I don't intend to 
let you try and avoid it. I have been faithful to our agreement 
and I expect you to be the same." 

When Norton Trock explained the idea of the matriarchy to 
her, Sabine said, "Thank God that could never happen in 
America." 



172 



26 



THIS HAPPY MAN and woman, this little world, this precious 
island in a leaden sea, walled from the envy of less happier 
homes, this blessed trust, this peace, this youthful marriage, 
this home of such dear souls, this dear dear home. 

This valley of refuge, this refuge without flight, this valley 
shelter from the wars abroad and the hysteric factions of the 
land, this close and smiling cheer, this dear dear home. 

Thus only could Cass read his Richard the Second. 

If the world of the twentieth century, he vowed, cannot suc- 
ceed in this one thing, married love, then it has committed 
suicide, all but the last moan, and whether Germany and France 
can live as neighbors is insignificant compared with whether 
Johann and Maria or Jean and Marie can live as lovers. He 
knew that with each decade such serenity was more difficult, 
with Careers for Women opening equally on freedom and on 
a complex weariness. But whether women worked in the kitchen 
or in the machine-shop, married love must be a shelter, or the 
world would freeze, out in the bleak free prairies of irrespon- 
sible love-making. 

With whatever flaws, his dear Jinny and he had created such 
a shelter. He hastened back to her from his day in court; she 
hastened to him from her war work in the Office of Civilian 
Defense, or from a French lesson with Frau Silbersee, or from 
a movie with Rose and Valerie Pennloss. He met her with a 



perpetually renewed amazement that this brisk and well- 
armored girl would soften to his love. She met him with aston- 
ishment that so reserved a man should be so without reserve 
her worshiper. 

They walked on winter nights by the dark river flowing under 
the ice from dark pinelands; they panted home to read in quiet, 
with one final ferocious game of chess, and she came into his 
room to say good night and forgot to go. 

173 



Poor Cass was so much simpler than most of the criminals 
who appeared before his wisdom, and any beslobbered pick- 
pocket knew more about the intrigue of love. He suffered from 
thinking that his was an entirely reasonable, realistic, unsen- 
timental love in fact, he suffered from thinking, while Nature 
was busy with much livelier urges. 

So great was her kindness toward his stumbling and beauti- 
ful faith in her that Jinny was not tempted to tease him by keep- 
ing him away, but she was human enough to bully him. It was 
in timing that she could, with innocent sweetness, most be- 
devil him. 

He was invariably ready to do whatever she wanted to when 
she wanted; she usually thought that what he wanted to do 
was a fair notion, but she always showed her independence by 
delaying the when. She was always ten minutes late, always 
had been and always would be, and he always protested that 
she was late, and she always explained that her watch was slow, 
and the ever-refreshing topic was probably a safety-valve and 
kept them from more perilous matrimonial topics, such as rela- 
tives, religion, and the vanity of too-much lipstick. 

He had to face the twin questions of whether she could set- 
tle down with his staid set, and whether that set would snub 
her as an outsider and not come calling. But the entire town 
( again meaning one per cent of it ) was frenzied to know what 
this girl was like who had captured Our Cass. They did come, 
and Jinny was pleased, even when she was irritated by the 
manner of the older worthies, which indicated, "We shall make 
every effort to have you accepted by our senate, now that you 
are no longer young and wild, but we must be convinced that 
you appreciate it/' 

Queenie Havock came in, at the most inconvenient time 
available, just when Jinny had started to wash her hair, and 
gave Jinny instructions on how to keep Cass ardent, and 
charged into the kitchen, said it was too large and too old- 
fashioned, insulted Mrs. Higbee, and then won her back by 
screaming, "Here I am shooting off my mouth again, but I know 
what a crank Cass is about temperance and purity and all that 

174 



hooey, the old stiff, and you two girls have to live with him, 
and I just meant any time I can tip you off about men, you let 
me know, and how would you like a brace of frozen pheasants?" 

Less endurable was Diantha Marl, Mrs. Gregory Marl, the 
handsome and fresh-voiced and amiable. Both as the wife of 
the Banner and in her own right as a committeewoman, a 
madame chairman, an exhaustive and exhausting talker about 
foreign affairs, the drama, and the illegitimate babies that all 
the gayer young ladies in town were certainly going to have im- 
mediately, Diantha ranked with Mrs. Webb Wargate, Madge 
Dedrick, and Delia Lent as one of the female rulers of the tribe. 

She had worked so hard at an English accent that she had 
acquired a fascinating combination of Oxford and oxcart, and 
she was so mannered, so pretentious, that when she met you 
on the street and said "Good morning," it somehow informed 
you that she was on her way to a conference with the Secretary 
of State or with Bernard Shaw, who had secretly slipped into 
town for that purpose. 

She remembered that Jinny had once worked for her hus- 
bandhow she remembered it! how glowingly and inescapably 
she remembered it! and, under her system of private im- 
perialism, she assumed the right to inflict on Jinny, as one of 
her smaller colonies, a rule of gentle questioning, which would 
provide her with new dinner-party tattle. 

Jinny, proud in her power as young hostess, who could give 
orders to Mrs. Higbee and often have them carried out, offered 
Diantha tea or cocktails. She took cocktails, and began to 
whinny. 

How cozy here. Did Cass tell Jinny all about his cases in 
court? 

"Oh, yes," lied Jinny. 

Did Cass like to play with her, and was he a generous pro- 
vider? 

"Oh, yes," said Jinny, surprised at being able to tell the truth. 

What was Cass's worst fault? 

"Why, I imagine. it's his thinking that his wife is so bright 
that she's onto it when people who really dislike her pretend 
to shine up to her." 

175 



Not for months did Diantha decide whether Jinny had meant 
to be insulting. She then, very erroneously, decided No. 

She ran through a discourse on the post-war education of Ger- 
many (which ought to be taken over by liberal-minded women 
like Diantha Marl), on trout-fishing (she was one of the best 
fly-casters in Radisson County), and on what a creeping im- 
becile Perry Claywheel was to believe that his wife was true 
to him. So Diantha got easily through the period before she 
could go home and tell a dinner-party that this Jinny Timber- 
lane was illiterate but harmless. 

But Mrs. Nestor Purdwin, wife of die dean of the local bar, 
just brought Jinny a jar of chutney, and that rangy older hawk, 
Mrs. Judge Blackstaff, came and sat and knitted with Jinny, who 
was glad then to believe that she herself would some day be- 
come an authentic Mrs. Judge. 

As a planner, a maker of notes and lists, Cass had anxiously 
thought over all the younger people whom Jinny might like. 
He was pleased when the Havocks' daughter, Ellen Olliford, 
came home from Massachusetts. She was just Jinny's age, and 
everybody said she was "so amusing." 

They would be Great Friends, decided Cass. 

Ellen Havock had gone to Smith College, then married Mr. 
Olliford, an engineer resident in Springfield, Massachusetts, 
now in the service, a captain. Ellen, with her one baby, had 
come back to stay with her parents. 

She loved and despised her parents, she loved and was bored 
by Grand Republic, and she spread abroad the news that Spring- 
field ( Mass. ) was a heavenly city compact with music, French 
cuisine, silver golf-sticks and bridge-cards beaten out of fine 
gold, till her father saidbut still lovingly "Then why the hell 
don't you get out of this hick camp and go back to your cod- 
fish?" 

Jinny was more terrified by Ellen than by Ellen's strident 
mother. Young Mrs. Olliford was so artificially slim, so icy, so 
at ease, so inquisitive; and without saying it, she so clearly said 
to Jinny, 'How did a country girl like you ever marry a man who, 

176 



however far down the rungs, still belongs to our International 
Ladder Society?" 

Half a dozen other young war-widows also came reluctantly 
back to the primitiveness of their native Grand Republic, aftei 
marrying into such exclusive Eastern centers of culture as 
Peoria, Bridgeport, and Scranton. They knew their horse-shows 
and their Vogue fashions, and Jinny was as uncomfortable with 
them as any other fox-terrier with a pack of disdainful grey- 
hounds. None of this did Cass realize; he thought that Ellen 
and her kind were "nice kids, maybe a little too extravagant," 
who would be grateful to meet anyone so forthright and in- 
dividual as Jinny. When she said, no, she did not want to give 
a party for them, he dismissed them with a comfortable "You're 
probably right. How about some cribbage?" 

Not too discontentedly, he thought, Jinny settled down with 
Lyra Coggs, Francia Wolke, Cerise Osprey, Hortense Hubbs v 
Rose Pennloss and, perhaps most of all, with Rose's daughter 
Valerie who, at fifteen, seemed to Jinny to have more eager- 
ness and integrity than anyone she knew except Cass and Eino. 

Webb and Louise Wargate, home early from Florida because 
of the war, gave the Timberlanes a formal party, but of that 
Jinny could remember nothing except white shirt-fronts, a swirl 
of tulle, and the magnificent, the absurd, Great Room in the War- 
gate palace, with its enormous crimson circular seat with an 
orange tree on the central pedestal, and the marble fountain 
imported from Italy. 

Their real welcome to matrimony was the dinner of twelve 
persons given by Dr. and Mrs. Drover. 

Jinny had, with difficulty, persuaded Cass that it would be 
fashionable for them to be ten minutes late, so when they came 
intwo minutes early the citizens had all arrived, and Cass 
could hear Roy and Queenie in an antiphon that seemed 
familiar: 

Nobody at all has any servants whatsoever now, and those 
who do have pay too much, and so all strikes ought to be 
stopped by law, because all labor leaders and Democrats are 

177 



crooks. Cass listened while he waited for Jinny to return from 
the coat-room, and silently exploded. 

Dear Jinny, I've done a dreadful thing, to trick you into 

becoming my wife and, for your reward, let you for a whole 
evening listen to Roy Drover belching. I must have hated you, 
not loved you. IVe shut you in a morgue. Well, I'll take you 
out of it. I'll take us both out! I'd better, little hawk, or you'll 
fly off without me! 

Now what kind of a way to talk is that? Jinny is a wise- 
enough kid to know that these people are the salt of the earth, 
the friendliest and solidest people living. What the devil! 
They're not supposed to talk like a bunch of actors or profes- 
sors! 

He had got so far in his inward scolding when Chris Grau 
walked in, with scarf, and looked at him straight not rebuk- 
ingly, not pathetically, not tenderly, just straight, her manner 
saying that he had gone rather far, not so long ago, in making 
love to her, in drinking in her sympathy, and there was noth- 
ing that could be done about it, but she did want to have the 
record clear. 

The Judge quit brooding and became practical. Leaving 
Jinny comparatively safe with Rose Pennloss and a cocktail, 
he appealed to Lillian Drover, the hostess. She smiled beseech- 
ingly at him, as she always did. "Lil! Can you seat Jinny be- 
side Bradd Criley at dinner he'll entertain her more than any- 
body, I think and let me sit by Chris? I've neglected her/* 

Lillian blushed and nodded. 

He bustled to Bradd. Good ole Bradd! Thirty-nine now but 
hard to believe it, still looks about twenty-nine; wavy-haired, 
impudently courtly, handsome in a track-athlete way, slim as 
a tennis-player, master of every trick of the law court and the 
poker table and the boudoir, a more smiling friend than Roy 
Drover and a more sensible one than Frank Brightwing no 
wonder he held that ducal office of The Most Popular Bachelor 
in Town! 

Cass urged, "Bradd! Pay some attention to Jin tonight. She's 
shy of these old crabs, and IVe got to soothe Chris." 

The dimple, the auick smile, the manly voice, as Bradd prom- 

178 



ised, "Do you think I'll find that hard? Jinny is the one person 
here, besides you, that I want to see. I'm delighted that you 
and she are so happy together. And you can hold her. She'd be 
onto a flashy guy like me in ten minutes. You watch me squire 
her/' 

Good ole Bradd, thought Cass. 

Sitting beside Chris at dinner, he probed, "Well, what do 
we say?" 

"About what?** 

"About us." 

"You mean about letting me think you loved me, and then 
sneaking off with this girl?" 

"Not sneaking." 

"Sneaking! . . . Well, I must say, but regretfully, that I think 
you were right." 

"M?" 

"Oh, Cass, I know; I had no youthful passion left to give you. 

It all went to my father, then for years to Mother, and when 

I wanted to hate Jinny, but I'm sorry to say that I love her. I 
don't suppose I'm. more than six or seven years older than she 
is, but I feel as if she were my daughter. She's fundamentally 
a shy thing, isn't she? Look at her, trying to laugh at Roy's 
dirty jokes." 

"Well, Bradd will carry her through, on her other side. 

TT * y * 

Hes 

"Cass! Are you a competent husband for any girl as fine and 
winning as Jinny?" 

"I don't know. I hope so." 

"You've got to be! For my sake, too. Cass, she's my under- 
study. No, she's me; she represents, me, she is me, in the only 
love-affair I'll ever have. Are you gentle enough for her and 
tolerant enough and imaginative enough and flexible enough?" 

"What do you think?" 

"I'm not sure you are. You're so methodical." 

Then Cass was angry. "I'm sick and tired of this contemporary 
belief that any man who likes to spend as much as one evening 
a week home is too dull a breadwinner for any up-and-coming 
young female who's had such a modern education in science 

179 



and sociology that she can turn on the radio all by herself! But 
I do love Jinny to a point of desperation, and however much she 
may like dancing-men and all these other wonder-boys that 
are too 'flexible' to be 'methodical,' yet in the long run she'll 
prefer somebody who's solid, like me or Bradd, and I don't 
intend to apologize even to her because I do brush my teeth 
and pay my bills!" 

"Cass, you do love her, don't you! I'm glad. Do love her. If 
you ever for one minute^ wanted to love me or anything in me, 
then love me now in her!" 

Her intensity frightened him; in relief he looked along the 
table at the placidity of Jinny. He was pleased to see how help- 
ful to her Bradd was being. Bradd was talking low and fast, and 
smiling. 

Thank God, there's one friend I can trust to give her a 

good time. Bradd is as young as Eino and as mellow as Steve 
Blackstaff, and I wouldn't wonder if he understood women bet- 
ter than some married men. 

Jinny was so fortunate as to draw Bradd and the Penlosses 
for bridge, after dinner; she seemed to have a good time, and 
Cass was puzzled when she was silent to his query "Enjoy your- 
self?" during the extensive five-block drive back home and 
when, in the hall, she threw her silver-fox jacket at the indig- 
nant Cleo. 

"Come sit on my knee," he said. Somehow that always seemed 
to him a soothing thing to suggest at these times of sulkiness. 

She obeyed, but her head against his shoulder was rigid as 
a plaster model. 

"What's trouble, baby?" 

"Nothing's the trouble! Good Heavens, can't I be quiet with- 
out your thinking that " 

"No, sweet, you can't. What's the charge?" 

"You seemed to be having a gorgeous time with your old 
girl-friend, that Grau woman." 
. She loved him enough to be jealous! 

'1 was having a gorgeous time with her. Do you know what 
we were talking about?* 

180 



"Me, I suppose." 

"Don't be so egocentric. But matter of fact, we were. She 
wanted to hate you, but she's succumbed, like me. She loves 
you. I said you were a hawk, but she says you're a lark, among 
all these crows." 

"Well, now, that's what I call something like it!" She kissed 
his bent forehead; kissed it again with "That second one is for 
Chris. I always liked larks better than any other bird; the 
meadow lark that makes you feel so fresh in early morning^ 
and I want to go to England when the war's over, just to hear 
the skylark. And yet Chris does " 

She was tense again in his arms, and there was nothing funny, 
nothing of the bad-little-girl in her grave complaint: 

"But you and she were so intimate. You've known her so 
long you know so many things together that I never even 
heard of. I felt so shut out. You two have jokes and memories 
maybe of all the romantic passes that you've made at her." 

"Not so many and not serious. Why, Jin, you aren't jealous?" 

"Yes, I am!" 

"You, the crusader against jealousy?" 

"I'm not a crusader against anything! I'm -only jealous when 
anybody takes any of you away from me. Jealous when I re- 
alize, and God knows I try and forget it, that you've had so 
many experiences with women that I don't even know about." 

"Haven't you had experiences?" 

"Not really. Eino kissed me very nicely one evening, if you 
want to know. But when I think of Chris, and especially when 
I think of Blanche, that hell-cat, that female heel " 

"No, she wasn't." 

" then I get mad. You and your Blanche! Actually mar- 
ried to her! I can just see it and hear it: dark rooms, and she 
on your lap, too " 

She tried to bounce away, but not too violently, and he held 
her. 

* and you two lying and laughing in the darkness and 
breakfasting together in pajamas oh, sometimes I get so 
furious I could kill both of you, and sometimes it just makes 

181 



me disgusted and feeble. Cass Timberlane, you got to love me 
terribly, to make me forget all that." 

"Do you want me to?*' 

"Yes, I do!" 

"Do you love me, Jin?" 

"Yes, I do. Damn it!" 

"How much?" 

"Very much. Very very much." 

She forgot her distress, and not till late, when she had refused 
to return to her own room, on the ground that it was wolf- 
haunted, and lay curled serenely in his* vast bed, did he recall 
from his criminal cases into what frightening shapes a resent- 
ment long hidden can twist itself. 



27 



HE HAD HEARD it often enough from his sister Rose, but he had 
never thoroughly understood that Jinny, with little occupation 
beyond asking Mrs. Higbee what she wanted her to want, would 
become idle, empty and bored. 

Her chief employment was in war-work. With the others, she 
plid her Red Cross detail and the entertainment of transient 
soldiers, but it took no initiative, not with such captains of en- 
terprise as Diantha Marl and Zeta Umbaugh directing her 
how to address envelopes, how to make layettes for soldiers' 
wives. She worked conscientiously, but the tasks did not take 
one-tenth of her time, one-hundredth of her energy. 

She had been elected to the Junior League, with its dances and 
mild benevolences, but she did not feel greatly at home in that 
self-constituted peerage of the Nice Women. 

She read enough, but what to the factory draftsman had been 
stolen joy was merely grim, as an all-day entertainment^ 

For a month it had been luxury, after having been a work- 
ing girl goaded by alarm clocks, to sleep till eleven and to break- 
fast on Mrs. Higbee's gossip and Cleo's antics with the golden 
string. Yet, before summer, Jinny was bored to -the danger- 
point. 

182 



She hoped that when she had children, she would be fulfilled, 
but there was no advice of their coming. 

Now of all this Cass was more aware than Jinny knew, aware 
and bothered. He had realized from divorce cases that boredom 
can be a slimier serpent in Eden than cruelty or drunkenness, 
and he saw that snake writhing. 

What had Blanche done to keep busy? Why hadn't she com- 
plained? 

Oh, yes. He remembered now. She had. 

And at that, Blanche had been nearer in age to Rose and the 
Bozards and more companionable, and she had enjoyed im- 
pressing Grand Republic by wearing backless dresses and 
being a great hostess. But when she had not been on parade, 
she too had been bored. 

Cass wondered whether Jinny could, as" Blanche decidedly 
could not, be influenced to take an interest in the technicalities 
of his work. 

He gave her popular books about the law. He came home with 
stories even he did not think they came out very excitingly 
about what an old stickler Oliver Beehouse, chief counsel for 
the Wargates, was about rules of evidence, what battlers for 
justice Sweeney Fishberg and Nestor Purdwin were, and how 
irritated Judge Blackstaff was when Judge Flaaten referred to 
their new silk robes as their "overalls/* 

But he got no spark out of her till he told about the young 
soldier who had been sent up for carnal knowledge, at which 
she lighted up and warmly defended the young man without 
having listened to anything but the more esoteric features of 
the case. Cass discovered that she was as non-conformist in 



the judicial system as in chess. Her theory of verdicts was 
humanitarian and brief. 

If a criminal was a nice-looking boy, you imposed the mini- 
mum sentence and then suspended it and gave him five dollars 
to go out and get another drink; and in civil litigation, the 
judge ought to sneak out into the corridor with the foreman 
of the jury and tell him to give judgment for all tenants, widows, 
and all persons over seventy, and against all landlords, em- 

183 



ployers, corporations, and bald-headed men who smoked cigars 
and called women "Sister." 

"I don't think shell ever be a rival of John Marshall," de- 
cided Judge Timberlane. 

It was in early March that he came home to find a girl dancing 
with pride. 

"Darling, know what's happened? Guess. You couldn't guess. 
Greg Marlwhat nerve! he wants me to go back to work 
for him. I will not! The idea! Maybe I will. Firing me the 
best cartoonist he'll ever get! Well, I guess I was sort of bad. 
Maybe I'll be better now. But I was a pretty darn good car- 
toonist then, too!" 

"Whoa! What is all this?" 

"Greg called up. Two of his reporters and his new cartoonist 
have been drafted. He says he could just use a syndicated 
cartoon, but he'd rather keep the local touch, and he thinks " 

"Do you want to do this?" 

"For a while, maybe. Yes, I think I do. Would you mind 
terribly?" 

"Well talk about it at dinner. Let me think about it first." 

While he washed his hands, gargled, inspected the purity 
:>f his collar, put on his smoking jacket, peeped at the war 
news, called up about the coal, looked at the thermometer to 
>ee what time it was and looked at his wrist-watch to see how 
:old, wrote a check for the garbage-collector, glanced at the 
sports page, looked into his current detective story to find out 
whether it was due back at the public library, looked at the 
?urnace, put on his slippers and then, with a feeling that this 
was his evening to be dignified, put on his shoes again, and then 
put on his slippers through all his exigent before-dinner duties, 
ihe Judge was voraciously thinking about it first. 

At dinner, Jinny spoke with more affection than belligerence: 

Tm not so proud and stuffy that I care especially about seem- 
ing independent of you, like Diantha Marl, but this is a shaky 
wrorld now, and any girl of my age may have to earn her living 
yet, and she ought to be trained, and I've only started my train- 
ing as a draftsman. I ought to be really good." 

"I agree." 

184 



1 wish I could be of some help to you in the law, but that 
would take years, and I have made a start with drawing. 
Honestly, it's allwell, anyway, it's partly because I do love 
you and want you to respect me and not consider me just a kept 
woman. Can't you see? I mean, work till God or whoever it is 
that's responsible sends us some children. Couldn't I?" 

"Dear child, you don't have to ask my permission!" 

"But I wouldn't feel right " 

"I'm not your tyrant. If you want to do this enough, why, it's 
decided. I'll admit I had hoped to have you waiting for me at 
the end of the day, and all fresh, not a tired working woman, 
but I know I have no right to demand that. So. When do you go 
to work?" 

"Well yes I know but there is one thing. You see, Greg 
wants me and Hubbsy says I'd be fine at it and Greg will 
pay me more, but he wants me to do some reporting, too, and 
that means the hours would be from noon till eight o'clock in 
the evening maybe later sometimes, but not very often. How 
do you feel? I'm not quite sure." 

He was a sunken man then, but he wanted to be polite. 

"Look, Jin. If this were some critical war job, or if it were 
going to lead to a blazing career for you, I'd be glad. I'd merely 
be wondering how I could help. I know that more and more 
millions of women will have to earn their livings now, and I'm 
all for having every occupation especially law and medicine 
open to them completely. But is it any part of this theological 
doctrine of the economic independence of women this rare 
new doctrine that only goes back to the Egyptian priestesses 
that women have to have independent jobs, even if it cracks 
up the men they love or at least the men that" love them?" 

"Don't look so utterly stricken! Of course I won't do it! 
Foul idea anyway, out in the rain all evening when I've got you 
and Mrs. H. and Cleo to come home to. Forget it!" 

"But I don't want to forget it. You're right about the passing 
of the fond, foolish Little Woman. But look. You yourself say 
you need more training in art. You know this old fellow Bezique, 
that has art classes at the Junior College? I hear he's quite good 

185 



he wouldn't be here but for the war. Why don't you work with 
him?" 

"Maybe I will. Now stop looking so woe-begone. Honestly, 
I don't insist on solving the entire feminist question right away!" 

She rushed around the table to kiss his hair, which was 
gratifying not only to Cass, but to the highly observant Cleo. 
She was unusually pleased with him and with herself all eve- 
ning, while he tried to look generous but masterful, and under- 
neath it worried that, three months after their marriage, she 
could cheerfully have left him for her own world of young work- 
ers, and had been kept from it not by adhesion to him, but by 
the accident that she would have to work after dark. 

He realized that from his first sight of her on the witness- 
stand, his zest in trying to win her had always been underlaid 
by the fear of losing her. He realized that in the civilization that 
he represented officially, if nine-tenths of the people suffered 
from occasional hunger and constant insecurity, the rest of the 
community, whom the nine-tenths labored to keep in content- 
ment, suffered from boredom and futility. His problem was 
concerned not with one light-footed girl, but with all women 
everywhere in an age that puzzled and frightened him. 

And Jinny with enthusiasm she took up sketching and French 
literature at the Junior College, in Alexander Hamilton High 
School, and with more enthusiasm she dropped them, when she 
found that most of the students in the adult classes were young- 
ish housewives who were more willing to fall in love with the 
teacher than to study. 

But this failure did not so much affect Jinny as her discovery 
that she was a second Eleonora Duse. 



1R6 



An Assemblage of Husbands and Wives 



SGOTT & JULIET ZAGO 



SCOTT ZAGO, president of the Northern Insurance Brokerage 
Corporation of Grand Republic, Inc., suffered from nothing 
in life except his diagnosis of himself as a humorous fellow. 

He was a profound yet ingratiating insurance-man, a collec- 
tor of shotguns, a talented carver of duck-decoys, a powerful 
dahlia-grower, a pipe-smoker, a dog-lover, and a faithful hus- 
band, and he could quote accurately all the limericks about the 
"Bishop of Birmingham, but he would put on an expectant smile 
and make puns. He telegraphed "Congratulations on the pappy 
event" to new fathers, provided they were of an insurable social 
standing, and to lawyers he said, "How's the great trial-liar 
today?" 

He had a comic name for every acquaintance, and used it 
whenever he saw them. Loudly. "Lydia Pinkham" was his name 
for Dr. Drover; he shouted "How's Doc Pinkham this obsequious 
day?" even in the hushed pomposity of the Federal Club; and 
he introduced him to male strangers with, "Folks, I want you 
should meet Doc Pinkham. He'll take care of any female com- 
plaints you got in stock today." 

He found that Abbott Hubbs was born in Oklahoma, and 
he gurgled invariably, "How's the oil wells today?" As he was 
never quite sure whether Oklahoma was to be regarded as 
Western or Southern, he added either, "Brethren, we will now 
absquatulate together and sing 'Dixie,' " or "Brethren, we will 
now absquatulate together and sing 'Home qn the Range/" 
according to his geographic mood. 

But Scott Zago was magnificent as a husband. 

Juliet and he made love rapturously and unwearyingly; they 
giggled at each other's jokes, and whenever they tried to quar- 
rel, they broke down and laughed. They had two jolly children. 
They called their fake half-timber cottage "The Dolls' House," 
and it had a pool table and good beds and two-thirds of a set of 
The Harvard Classics. 

187 



Their amorous delight was only increased by the fact that 
Scott was fifty now and Juliet only thirty-seven. She had been 
married to him when she was twenty, but she was a chronic 
child-wife, and would still be at seventy, if God should blessedly 
preserve her as a proof of how unnecessary is intelligence to 
romance and fine cookery. 

She flapped her pretty little fat hands and beamed like a 
fat round little baby and did a fantastic little toddling dance 
with her little round feet, and simpered, "Honya, I dess tan't 
understan' all de biggy, wisey gwowed-up talk that oo big mans 
is saying, but 'ittle Juley can shake up a cuddly Ittle Clover 
Club while oo is doing it." 

Her favorite endearment was this "Honya," and she ran to 
the infantile in clothes; she wore ringlets, with piratical ker- 
chiefs flaunting over them, large pink hats, and dirndls and flat 
strapped baby-shoes and chains hung with jingling silver 
charms. And she poked people in the ribs and squealed at their 
wincing. 

Juliet was not only infantile but cultured. Every month she 
took from the library a volume on some branch of science like 
astrology, New Thought, gland-therapy, Freud's translations 
from the original four-letter words, or the hidden inner secrets 
of Tibet, and with the touching zeal of the young savant, she 
quoted the first two paragraphs of each book to all newcomers. 
Naturally, like Mrs. Higbee across the way, she believed in 
numerology and palmistry, but she had one superstition that 
Mrs. Higbee did not share: she put perfume behind her ears. 
Also, she never listened to information and let it go at that. 
She had to make a witty comment, in the belief that she was 
easing the social way for large and surly professors of bio- 
physics or Burmese history. 

Most men knew instinctively that the way to shut up Juliet 
was to kiss her. For so plump a girl, she did get more incidental 
kissing from entirely tangential gentlemen! They were deceived, 
however, if they thought they were going farther. 

After parties, she reported to Scott on the assorted kisses she 
had received during the evening, and he tried, under her direc- 
tion, to imitate the several categories, as: the butterfly kiss, the 

188 



solid brother-in-law, the allergic-to-lipstick, the short interroga- 
tive, the long interrogative, and the vampire-minatory, meant 
for ravishing. They bounced around in bed and laughed a good 
deal during these imitations, and ended up in an innocent frenzy 
which would have astonished serious citizens like Judge Tim- 
berlane, who thought the Zagos were fools, or sentimentalists 
like Young Mrs. Timberlane, who thought they were triflers. 

The Zagos came near to justifying all such anachronisms as 
insurance, cocktails, and houses with shingles imitating thatch. 



119 



28 



FROM A CAMP in South Carolina, Eino Roskinen wrote to 
Jinny, "I'm a corporal, I shall be a sergeant, 111 never be a 
comm. officer, I ask too many flip questions. Now you are mar- 
ried and a woman of leisure, why don't you finally go out for 
the Lit Theater, you have looks and spirit, tho I doubt whether 
you have enough inner discipline to take direction, why not try? 
Furioso the Finn/' 

She read it aloud to Cass, and said with marked doubt, "What 
do you think?" 

"Not bad. I believe you'd be good at dramatics, and you'd 
have a lot of fun. The Masquers have had a good reputation, 
more than ten years now. I couldn't ever imagine myself getting 
nip there before a lot of people and pretending I was a king or 
a butler " 

"You do every day. On the bench." 

"Maybe. Anyway, I'd be delighted." 

"I wonder when the next try-out is. I wonder what the play 
will be. ' 

"The play is Skylark, by Samson Raphaelsou; it's the last 
play of the season; the reading will be at Delia Lent's next 
Thursday evening, at eight-fifteen." 

"How come you always know everything?" 

"Why, I read the papers!" 

Rice and Patty Helix were small and active and rather un- 
tidy. They were the paid semi-professional managers of the 
Masquers: directors, scene-designers, ticket-peddlers, borrow- 
ers of stage furniture. They were devoutly married, and they 
were either older than they looked, or more wrinkled than 
their age. They talked, rapidly and enthusiastically, about 
"Gene" O'Neill, moonlight-blue lights, and tormentors, and they 
could make a wind-machine out of an old bicycle, a marble 
Venus out of a Quaker Oats box. 

They had acted professionally, but no one seemed to know 
just when or where; they said that they had given it up because 

190 



it was so hard to get engagements together; and before they 
had found a career in the little theaters, they had tried chicken- 
farming and clairvoyance and being lecture agents in Texas. 
Late at night, they were seen running hand in hand. The Boone 
Havocks received them as somewhere between schoolteachers 
and bartenders. 

But at best they were the upper servants of Delia Wargate 
Lent, who supported the Masquers. 

The plays were rehearsed at the various houses of the cast 
and finally presented in the high-school auditorium, but the 
try-outs were held at Delia's abode, which was by no means the 
largest house in Grand Republic but had the largest drawing- 
room, all filled with gilt pianos and majolica. 

For casting during war-time the Helixes had enough women 
among whom to choose, but they had to drag in young men from 
shops and factories and offices. There were present for the 
reading of Skylark only eleven men from whom to pick the 
six male characters of the play, and one of these was cross-eyed 
though spirited, but for the four women characters there were 
twenty-seven candidates, ranging from fourteen and sulky to 
sixty-three and still artistic. 

All twenty-seven wanted to play Mrs. Kenyon, the lead. 

Cass told himself that Jinny stood out among the others as 
the loveliest yet the most efficient. It was not the fantastic or 
the playful or the flirtatious Jinny who was here tonight, but 
a business-like young woman in a snuff-colored suit, a crisp 
scarf, a small brown hat. 

They all tried it, but only two were chosen for a second read- 
ing of the part of Mrs. Kenyon: Jinny and Letty Vogel, wife 
of the county agricultural agent. Mrs. Vogel was three or four 
years older than Jinny, a thin figure in almost-shabby black, a 
thin, pale, anxious face with eyes too large. 

That poor Vogel girl. Seems to have a fancy for the 

theater, but not a chance against Jinny all fire and ivory. 

They tried again, and Jinny's reading was like crystal, her 
voice warm, every syllable clear and all syllables exactly alike. 
Letty Vogel seemed tired and her voice was slightly shaky, 
but as she read she was not Mrs. Vogel at all but the character 

191 



in the play: wilful, gay, a little cheap and utterly tragic, a 
wisecracking angel. 

Now, now, now! This is awful! Mrs. Vogel is superb and 
poor Jinny, she can't act at all! She reads like a schoolgirl. 

And so Cass loved her, passionately and protectively, because 
she could not act. 

Delia Lent and the Helixes whispered together, and Rice 
Helix announced: 

"Folks, both these final readings were simply swell, and we 
all know what a fine, hard-working actress Letty has always 
shown herself to be in a number of plays, but for this particular 
society part, we feel that Mrs. Timberlane is not only the best, 
bnt golly, what a high-class best, and we honest to God believe 
that with the careful direction we intend to give her, she will 
put it all over the original performance that Gertrude Lawrence 
gave on Broadway. Welcome to our midst, Jinny; you sure are 
a great addition to the local arts. And now, folks, before we 
bust up, let's put back the chairs in order that Mrs. Lent has 
been so generous and, to not intentionally make a pun, has lent 
us for our little try-out, and I sure am real proud of the show- 
ing that all you folks have made this evening, not a bad egg 
in the basket, as the fellow says, and don't be discouraged, if 
at first you don't succeed, try, try again, and don't forget, put 
back your own chair where it was, we thank you." 

The just Judge was staring, wanting to protest, wanting Jinny 
to protest, and loving her passionately because she did not know 
how bad an actress she was. 

The first rehearsal of Skylark was held in the Cyclopean 
basement of Cass's Bergheim, with cordwood and ash-cans and 
shotgun-shell boxes for furniture. The first half of it, Cass did 
not see, and he was regretful, as he had already forgotten that 
the flowering of Jinny's dramatic genius might not be so showy 
an exhibit. But he had to go off to address a dinner of the local 
Junior Chamber of Commerce: "Eat at six, inspiration at seven- 
fifteen, home at eight-thirty, all come, special treat this time, 
Hizzoner Cass Timberlane on 'The Cultural and Architectural 
Future of Our City/ * 

192 



As a judge, Cass was expected to know everything, and as a 
knower of everything, he was expected to hold forth about it 
publicly, and as a public forth-holder, he was expected to be 
a medicinal but tasty digestive tablet after the chicken cro- 
quettes and brick ice cream. Oratory is the dearest treasure of 
the American male as alimony is of the American female. 

Tonight, Cass was prophetic. He said that some time the City 
Planning Commission might really have power, and firmly dis- 
courage the citizens of Grand Republic in their constant ambi- 
tion to erect a two-story red-brick bowling-alley, with offices 
for chiropractors, between a ten-story limestone bank and the 
City Hall. The Junior Chamber of Commerce, composed of men 
under thirty -six who expected some day to belong to the Senior 
C. of C. and have public esteem, were slightly shocked by 
fudge Timber lane's communism. They whispered together that 
"He oughtn't to pull such impractical and uncommercial ideas 
on a forward-looking group that are expected to mold the ideals 
for the new age of Business and the American Way of Life." 

But his adjectives, his grammar, and the authority in Cass's 
voice made them forgive him, and at the end they did that 
mystic rite, that flapping together of portions of their anatomies, 
like locusts scraping their wing-cases, which is known as ap- 
plause, and six of them invited him out for a drink. 

The Judge thought that these young husbands were strangely 
desirous of staying away from their wives, on their rare eve- 
ning out, and after listening to a talking-dog story, he got away 
from them and hastened home for the end of the rehearsal. 

Keen to see her work. Of course Jinny is better than 

Letty Vogel. Mrs. Vogel is too pretentious and- arty. I much 
prefer to have Jinny keep her voice clear and melodious, and 
not crack it with all sorts of attempts to be emotional. She'll 
be wonderful. 

Well, anyway, she'll be all right as good as any of 'em. 

She could be a great actress or a great anything, if she put 

her mind to it. Her mind is so flexible. 

Love to think of her hair the way when you see it from 

behind, it's scarcely hair at all but some finer fabric It's dark 

193 



and sleek at the top, but it runs down into waves that you want 
to follow with your hand. 
So much! 

The author of Skylark, who presumably thought that he had 
written high comedy, would have been astonished to learn that, 
as enacted by Fred Nimbus, it was a Hollywood demonstration 
of sultry tropic passions. 

Cass came down the dark stairs to his basement and stood to 
watch Fred trying out "business" with Jinny. He thought that 
this business of manhandling Jinny was altogether too business- 
h'ke. He had no initiation into theatricals nor into midnight 
studio-parties; he resented her being mauled. 

Fred was, under the directive eye of Mr. Helix but apparently 
not needing that expert encouragement, slowly kissing Jinny, 
her head back, sidewise and helpless; kissing her long and 
closely, and letting his tight-pressing hand slip from her shoul- 
der to her breast. 

Then Cass came into the lighted basement all in one piece, 
and Cass spoke. 

"Nimbus! You may quit that now!" 

Nimbus quit. 

"Helix, it is not necessary for this fellow to act like a thug 
in a bawdy-house in order to rehearse a play." 

Poor Rice Helix trembled. "Are you trying to bully me?" 

"Of course! But I think that's all the outburst I'll need. Go on 
with the rehearsal now, and you be a good boy, Nimbus. Good 
night, everybody. I'm going upstairs and read the Book of 
Mormon. Isn't it curious now that IVe never read the Book 
of Mormon? Good night.'* 

And he did read it. He was not much afraid of what Jinny 
would be coming up to saynot more afraid than of the black 
plague, or indictment for malfeasance. 

When she did come, after the rehearsal, and started with 
the inevitable, "Well, of all the " he plunged. 

"Dry up, Jinny. I know the line. Ridiculously jealous husband 
-crass outsider interfering with the arts. Will you answer this: 

194 



Fred had been pawing you pretty extensively before I came, 
hadn't he? Huh? Hadn't he?" 

She half giggled. "He was kind of exploratory/' 

"And I'm not going to have my wife declared a general area 
for exploration, with dog-teams and native bearers. If you'd 
slapped Fred, as you should have, I wouldn't have had to make 
a spectacle of myself. Remember that, the next time you go 
and get modern and courageous on me, will you?" 

She tried her best, with: 

"You must admit you were rather middle-class and reaction- 
ary and Shouting and bullying and carrying on that way, 

when if you'd been a man of the world, or believed in the ability 
of the modern woman to take care of herself, you'd just of 
tapped Fred rightly on the shoulder and said gaily, 'Ease it up, 
ole boy/ You know. Something like that. Something uh suave." 

He laughed at her, and she looked unconvinced of her own 
advice. 

"Jinny! I know I was noisy, but both of you were asking for 
it. You didn't think he was measuring you for a raincoat, did 
you? Raincoats don't fit that tight. So! Kiss me." 

She grumbled only a little, and she kissed him with surprising 
devotion. 

But he knew that it would not last. He had succeeded for a 
few minutes in being masterful, melodramatic, insulting, and all 
the other things that a sedentary professional man, married to 
so attractive and curiosity-ridden a girl as Jinny Marshland, 
ought to be, but he was not easy in the role. 



29 

HE WAS NOT unduly intrusive on the other rehearsals, but 
merely looked on a moment when he called to drive her home. 
He was pleased to see how patiently Jinny was working; her 
part letter-perfect after two weeks, taking direction, merely 
arguing a little with Rice Helix when he insisted that a Perfect 
Lady expressed her emotions by showing all her teeth and 

195 



wriggling her fingers as though a bug was crawling over them. 
He was even more' pleased that she was seeing new friends 
here: Letty Vogel who, as she could not play the lead, earnestly 
built the scenery, Bernice Claywheel, wife of the Superintendent 
of Schools, Dick and Francia Wolke, the young rabbi, Ned 
Sarouk, and his wife Nelly, and Jay Laverick, the flour-miller, 
the only member of the Federal Club besides Frank Bright- 
wing who recognized the Masquers. 

Cass was pu/zled by Fred Nimbus's intentions. Now, when- 
ever it was Fred's appalling duty to embrace Jinny, he did so 
lightly, with tapping fingers. But a sour thought occurred to 
Cass: that Fred might be taking advantage of that most sound 
and ancient technique of the child knowing that the safest 
time to steal the jam is when the family is ashamed of itself 
for having yelled at it for having stolen the jam. It had never 
quite come to Judge Timberlane that there are men outside 
jail who make it a careful and well-funded business to seduce 
all the pretty women in sight, and that against their expert busi- 
ness-methods, an innocent householder is helpless. 

"Oh, quit being so ingeniously jealous and let the girl have 
i good time/' the ardent husband rebuked himself. 

He noticed then that it was not the pulpy Nimbus but the 
gallant Mr. Jay Laverick with whom Jinny laughed in corners 
and, between scenes, danced the rhumba. 

Jay Laverick was the town drunk, the town clown, the town 
tragedy. He was a widower of forty, and he had inherited the 
Laverick Flour Mills. He was always polite when he was drunk, 
but unfortunately he was almost always drunk when he was 
polite. No dance at the Heather Country Club was canonical 
without the presence of Jay Laverick, emitting the rebel yell 
and saying to some aged (and delighted) matron, "Madame, 
iocs my reason totter on her throne, or are you actually Queen 
Elizabeth the First?" When people said, as people immensely 
did say, "Poor Jay is drinking himself to death," it was not 
irritably but with affection. 

In person he was not the round and beloved comic Irishman 
but the sallow and villainous baronet, with a thin dark face 

196 



and a long black mustache. It was to be credited to his inherited 
Irish constitution that, against the normal rule, excess of alcohol 
had not impaired his powers of love-making. 

He was the best flour-salesman north of Minneapolis, and 
usually sober in the office. 

Not till the rehearsals had Jay and Jinny met, except in 
crowds. She liked his bitter capering, his tragic flourishes, his 
lightly touching hands, professional touch of the surgeon, the 
pianist, the healing saint, or the satyr. 

Cass was uncomfortable again and tired of it. 

He told himself: here is this poor girl, business-like in sweater 
and slacks, sexless as a nurse, working hard to produce some- 
thing beautiful in a blacked-out world. No gauds and gim- 

cracks; just a sweater and gray manly trousers. But Did Jinny 

know how fetching, how conspicuously womanly, she was in a 
tight sweater? 

Of course she knows it! All women know tilings like that. 

Their capital is modesty, but how they do squander it. 

Of course she never even thinks of such a thing, you 

Pharisee. You love her, don't you? Well, then! How can you 
insult her with such suspicions? 

Oh, nuts! Whoever said there wasn't a lot of wanton in 

every good woman? 

Well, I don't like your using the word "wanton" and think- 
ing evil of 

Look here! The monarch who sniffed "Honi soit qui mal y 

pense" was not of a notably moral character. There's nothing 
shameful about suspecting that a girl is not displeased when 
she knows that she's stirring up a few normal biological reac- 
tions by all her beauties lily-white. You wouldn't want her to 
be unworldly to a point of imbecility, would you? 

Sure! I wouldn't mind a bit! Friend, my worship of her /s 

unworldly, it has a little of the divine; to me, she is all woman- 
hood, out of every time and place. 

Yes, yes. As you say. But I do wish she wouldn't so 

perpetually get herself ambushed by Nimbus and Jay. Why 
can't she talk to a really nice fellow, 'like Frank Brightwing? 

197 



Though Cass saw less of Frank Brightwing than of Roy 
Drover or Bradd Criley, there was no one in Grand Republic 
whom he more warmly liked. At thirty-eight, Frank was what 
is known as a successful real-estate man; he dealt not in 
harp-playing and the design of angels* pinions, as was his nature 
and as his name quaintly hinted, but in Lot 13, Block 7; in 2-c 
garg., r.w., h & c; in abutments and amortizations and ease- 
ments. He had a plush wife and three medium-grade children, 
but his excitement was in the Masquers, and if a play ran for 
two weeks, then for twelve nights he went on believing that 
the hero was as courageous and the heroine as voluptuous and 
the comic maid as funny as they said they were. 

Being the worst of actors, as is likely with such a worshiper 
of acting, Frank had to be ticket-seller, stage-carpenter, and 
assistant electrician, and he was content with life when they 
let him hold the book at rehearsals. 

Being, remarkably, also the worst of critics, he believed and 
he told Cass that they were lucky to have Jinny playing Mrs. 
Kenyon instead of Letty Vogel. 

"But I thought Mrs. Vogel showed a lot of talent." 

"Oh, no, Cass. You laymen don't understand these technical 
problems. Letty is what we in the theatrical world call 'fuzzy/ 
while Jinny is sure of herself a real type. Oh, she's out of this 
world, Cass." 

Over morning coffee, Cass said cheerfully, "Well, Jinny, I 
guess our friend Nimbus has laid off you." 

"Oh, absolutely. Sweet Freddy, he's such an obvious lug that 
he never gets far." 

"You kind of liked him." 

"Sure I did. I like all rats. They usually know how to kid like 
nobody's business, and they have a line. It's their job." 

In English, she meant, "Certainly. I like all scoundrels. They 
are full of amiable banter." Her normal use of the swing-age 
argot had been increased by association with the violently 
artistic Masquers, but Judge Timberlane understood much of 
her dialect, and love enlightened where understanding stag- 
gered, and increasingly he used the dialect himself. 

198 



"Anyway, I wouldn't ever be half so jealous of Nimbus as of 
Jay Laverick. I imagine you women find him a dashingly tragic 
figure." 

"I'll say! And how! And has he fallen for me!" 

"Don't take it too seriously. Jay is a decent fellow with men, 
but his record of falling for every female from six to ninety-six 
is rather extensive/' 

"Now don't go and tell me you're going to be really jealous 
even of your old friend Jay!" 

"How could I be? Ho, ho!" 

"Sweetie pie, that's the falsest-sounding stage-laugh I ever 
heard. Now quit it!" 

I told you so! What did you ever bring it up for? You 

knew just how far you'd get, didn't you? 

I couldn't help it. 

Rice and Patty Helix knew their strange art of coaxing people 
to eive up being themselves and become someone else, not so 
pleasant. The play, when it was presented at the high-school 
auditorium, actually was a play and not an amateur reading. 
Cass found himself for moments believing that Jinny was this 
flashing wife of an acrobatic advertising man and not his own 
simple girl. 

At the opening-night party afterward, at Delia Lent's, Cass 
noted the following expert dramatic criticisms: 

Bradd Criley, lawyer: "Honest, boy, she was wonderful. 
Even I didn't know there was so much fire in her." 

Frank Brightwing, real estate & loans: "She was ten times bet- 
ter than Gertrude Lawrence in the role. I never saw Miss 



Lawrence in it, but I know." 

Mrs. Gerald Lent, husband-supporter: "She wasn't bad at 
all, Cass. But was that Nimbus lousy! And Jay!" 

Mrs. John William Prutt, spiritual, social and domestic ad- 
viser in banking: "Mr. Prutt and I thought she was very fine, 
Judge. I do hope her playacting and the practising don't inter- 
fere with her war-work and the home." 

Roy Drover, physician & surgeon: "It wasn't a bad show, and 
I thought Jinny was as good as any of 'em." 

1Q9 



Norton Trock, banker: "Why, Cass, she was simply too, 
too divine. She was all right." 

Fred Nimbus, radio artist: "Honestly, Judge, I never could 
of put it over like I did if it hadn't been for Mrs. Timberlane's 
loyal support." 

Jay Laverick kept sober through the rehearsals, the six per- 
formances of the play, and Delia's first-night party. He did not 
break down and become natural man till the party at the end 
of the run, a gaudy one at Madge Dedrick's. Champagne. 
Though not imported. But that night he whooped and held 
Jinny's hands and fulsomely kissed her. 

Cass was near enough to hear her say "You quit that!" in a 
manner so vicious that Jay released her. She walked over to 
Cass and groaned, "Sweet darling, if you ever catch me seeming 
to encourage any man again, you beat me." 

"I don't think 111 need to/- 
She was of a forgiving nature, for before the party was over, 
she was dancing with Jay, and painlessly. 

Bradd Criley muttered to Cass, "For a nice fella, Jay can be 
such a jackass. It takes Jinny to handle him. What a girl!" 

When Cass and Jinny came home at three, she kissed him 
boldly. He was glad that, no matter how other men might flat- 
ter her, it was to him that she turned for true affection. 

At dawn, he heard Cleo crying. When he left the sleeping 
Jinny and went down to the little cat, she shivered and nestled 
against him and seemed afraid. 

The Banner's strictly favorable review of Skylark, written 
by Pandora Avondene, admitted that each actor was either 
Compelling, Professional, Brilliant, or at least Satisfying. A sec- 
ond account in the paper on Sunday reviewed the play as a So- 
cial Event and, whether by accident or through the malice of 
Abbott Hubbs, wound up with a gasping announcement. 

It revealed that Mr. Fred Nimbus, who had shown such 
Sterling Qualities in Skylark, and who had been writing and 
playing in a series of radio stories about the Marines, over 
Station KICH, which had been so powerful that he was credited 

200 



with having gained many recruits, now felt that he did not 
desire to wait and be drafted, and he was going to enlist in 
the Marines himself. 

The town cheered. But Mr. Fred Nimbus did not cheer. This 
was all news to him. 

He called up Cass, along with other local rulers, and cried 
that he was being railroaded into the service; that Cass must do 
something about it; that while he was zealous to go as soon as 
his number came up, he had first to settle his affairs. He did 
not exactly have a mother to support, but he did have a maiden 
aunt. 

"They say that if I don't go in voluntarily, the Marines will 
force me to. That's outrageous and undemocratic!" whimpered 
Fred. 

"Nonsense. Who says they will?" growled Cass. 

"Oh, everybody does/' 

In a way, everybody did. There was very little masculine 
tenderness in town for Mr. Nimbus. But a number of maidens 
who had thrilled to Fred's manly crooning of his own poetic 
prose came to serenade him at his boarding-house. There was 
no balcony for Fred to come out on, like Juliet or a young 
Mussolini, but he mounted a folding stepladder-chair on the 
front stoop, and addressed them: 

"Dear girls, you move me more than I can attempt to say. 
It is to defend the virtue and happiness of girls like you that. 
I want to enlist, and I have arranged to do so tomorrow morn- 
ing, Room 307, the County Court House, and any of you who 
care to come, be sure and be there before ten. I don't know 
why you should care for my poor autograph, but if you'll bring 
your little books, I'll be glad to do what I can. I am so happy 
that at last I have been able to arrange my affairs, and I can 
now rush where the fighting is thickest." 

Next morning one hundred and sixteen females, mostly under 
nineteen, filled the corridor and cheered and wept when Fred 
appeared at the door of Room 307, looking scared, with a marine 
sergeant, looking derisive. 

He later denied the sergeant's canard that he had applied 
for office work at Marine Headquarters. 

201 



Jinny came giggling in to inform Cass that Fred had tele- 
phoned wanting to say good-bye to her privately. 

I'm going to stay right with you all the time he's here! I 
won't have him bothering you!" 

"Don't worry, darling. He's not coming. I told him to go 
jump in the lake," said Jinny, in a refined manner. 



202 



An Assemblage of Husbands and Wives 

BENJAMIN & PETAL HEARTH 

As A MEMBER of that earnest sect, the Cross and Crown Cove- 
nanters, Benjamin Hearth had read numerous tracts about wives 
with quarter-loaves and half -candles and starving children who 
waited shivering at home for drunken husbands, usually coach- 
men; helpful tracts written in England in 1880 and still cir- 
culated in forward-looking America in the 1940's. Benjamin 
loved to read and to distribute such tracts, and it never occurred 
to him that in these liberal days, the sexes of the drunks could 
be switched. 

He was the junior partner in Hearth & Hearth, the Friendly 
Morticians, once doing the finest and most sympathetic under- 
taking-business in Grand Republic but of late eclipsed by that 
less artistic outfit, the Larson Funeral Home and Byzantine 
Interdenominational Chapel with the Revolving Cross. He was 
fat, and fond of beer and sauerkraut, which afterward he re- 
pented, in fits of indigestion and remembered piety. 

His wife, Petal, was a slight, spectacled, prim-looking woman. 
She was also a dipsomaniac, a drunk and a dirty drunk, but 
to the end Benjamin never acknowledged this. 

He loved her and she him. Each orgy he accepted as some- 
thing that had never occurred before and certainly never could 
occur again, and, after hearing her regrets and wails and audible 
hair-tearing, he felt himself a sneak to have believed that it 
had really occurred this time. Probably her stomach. Or her 
laudable grief over the sickness of the second child of Cousin 
Mary, who lived in Indiana. 

Benjamin was, in a genteel and Covenanter way, convivial; he 
loved society dinners at six o'clock, with pickled peaches, and 
grace said, and a game of mah Jong afterwards but never 
the immoral cards, which lead to atheism and vice. When Petal 
married him she had been substitute telephone girl for the 
legal firm of Beehouse, Criley and Anderson, and later a clerk 

203 



in the linen department of Tarr's Emporium she had stepped 
into a degree of social prestige beyond her experience. 

She had always liked hot gin better than Benjamin could 
have guessed, but economy and the necessity of working all 
day had prevented her specializing in it. All of Benjamin's 
snobbish friends most of them had detached houses, and one 
was a professional man, Orlo Vay the optician said that Petal 
was quite the lady, with an inspiration in trimming hats. 

They did not know her peculiar gift and betrayal: when she 
was drunk, she could still sound sober on the telephone. 

Not much was suspected till, a couple of years after her 
marriage, within one fortnight she had begged off from three 
different suppers to which Benjamin and she had been invited, 
and one that they were giving, always on the grounds that 
"Some close relatives of mine have just arrived unexpectedly 
from Indiana, this afternoon." 

Her circle felt that that was too many Indiana relatives too 
unexpectedly. George Hame, the court attache, an enterprising 
and agnostic fellow, went creeping up to the Hearth nest after 
one of these disconcerting refusals and, peeping under a curtain, 
saw Petal not entertaining anybody at all, from Indiana or 
elsewhere, but flopped on a couch, apparently snoring, while 
Benjamin sat by in distress, smoothing his chin. 

George reported that to him it looked as though she had 
"passed out cold." 

Benjamin knew that she had had a drink, "for a bad cold or 
maybe it's intestinal flu," but in a blindness of prospering love 
he had been fooled by the sobriety with which she had told 
him that she had not felt well enough to go out, and had in- 
vented the Indiana kin to save people's feelings. 

He was baffled by the famine of social invitations which now 
set in. 

Petal had enough of the sot's admirable caution to arrange 
her best escapes at times when Benjamin was off on funeral 
duty. But with the splendid new friends whom she met in bar- 
rooms, now that she had the leisure and the funds, she became 
less cautious and more thirsty. Once, when she had got home 
safely from a cocktail-joint in time to get Benjamin's supper 

204 



and found a note saying that he would be on duty out on a farm 
all evening, she felt unusually free and happy. She laughed 
and put on a negligee. She took out her private gin bottle, 
finished the gin, hid the bottle again, felt dizzy, again found 
the bottle, and was amazed that it was empty. 

In fluttering negligee, she ran out of the house, across the 
street through traffic, past two red lights, and into a liquor 
store. 

On her way home, with bottle, a policeman stopped her. He 
hinted that he thought she might have escaped from an asylum, 
and such was the shock to her that she screamed and sat on the 
curb, weeping. A young man who had been following her came 
up to say suavely, "It's my sister, Officer. She's had a kind of 
delirious fever. Ill get her home." 

The crowd laughed at the spectacle of the drunken woman 
being half carried by the young man, while she wept all over 
him in gratitude. He did get her into her house, into bed. What 
could she do then in gratitude but throw her arms about him 
and kiss him? 

The patient Benjamin, at his labors in a windy farm-house, 
knew nothing of this, ever. 

His first enlightenment was later, when he came home from 
what he felt to have been a "real beautiful funeral," and found 
water soaking through the dining-room ceiling. Above, in the 
bathtub, naked and entirely drunk, singing "The Red Light 
Rag/' was his Petal. 

The severest thing he said to her afterward was "Dearie, 
promise me you won't let anybody tempt you to take a drink 
again. You're such an unsuspicious little silly, sweetheart, that 
you don't realize what this horrid liquor can do. Promise Benny 
you'll never touch it again, dearie." 

"Oh, I promise, I promise oh, God, my head!" sobbed the 
damp Petal. 

In sobriety, Petal was a woman most ladylike in her syntax, 
one who knew that you must never call perspiration sweat and 
that to refer to a pregnancy by any verbal gesture less refined 
than "the coming happy event" was a coarse and whorish thing, 
not to be permitted in Evangelical circles. Yet a week after 

205 



the bathtub, when George Hamc had with some curiosity in- 
cited them in for chicken a 'la king, she slipped out to the 
garage with George, had five amazingly quick drinks, and 
went back to turn upon Benjamin and pronounce in a cool, 

amiable, very sober and interested voice, "J esus > what a fat 

you are. The trouble with you is, your mother took in washing, 

and the way the cop on the beat used to pay her for it was 

So don't ever try and pull any of your Sunday-school stuff on 
me." 

Benjamin was very sorry when she spoke thus. He explained 
to everybody that she didn't mean it at all. She was just nervous. 

He knew now. Yet such was his love for this woman, who 
was so refined and superior, that he would not permit himself 
to know what he knew. 

Once it was clear that he understood, she became more care- 
less, and he tended her like a nurse in a private mad house. 
He cleaned the vomit from her shoes, he changed the sheets 
when she had fouled their bed, and when she struck him, 
though he was a massive man, he wailed, "Oh, don't do that, 
dearie! I didn't mean to make you cross/' 

She had developed this new and fascinating trait of hitting 
people, hitting them quietly and very painfully. She did it once 
at their pastor's house, and that ended any possible resurrec- 
tion of the Hearths' social career. 

She blamed Benjamin; she said that people could not endure 
his vulgar belching. On that theme she shouted for an hour. 
When he tried to stop her, she shut herself in the locked guest- 
room, where she had stored half a case of gin. Sometimes she 
screamed at him through the door, sometimes out of the win- 
dow at awed neighborhood children. 

Benjamin took to staying away from the business, to guard 
her. They became hermits, the lonelier in sitting together spy- 
ing on each other. He knew that she was thinking how she 
could kill him. 

His older brother, Robert, head of the firm, told him that 
he would have to have Petal locked up in an institution, or quit 
the business. 

He quit. 

206 



He went to work in the Wargate plant, on war materials, 
satisfied with the job of running a band-saw all day, except 
when he thought of Petal's misfortunes. People did not under- 
stand her. 

For two days, at home, she could get no liquor at all, be- 
cause he had given her no money and the stores did not trust 
her. Then she found an old bachelor who was amenable. 

When she set fire to their house, Benjamin did have to send 
her to a private sanitarium. He lives now in a hall-room and 
cooks his own meals on a kerosene stove, because it takes most 
of what he earns to keep her in the sanitarium. In his room there 
is but one ornament: the bridal picture of Petal, in white satin, 
unstained and lovely. Benjamin sits and looks at the picture 
or at a newspaper all evening. 

The landlady lends him the newspaper. He feels that he 
cannot afford to buy one. 

He says that when his dear wife recovers from her mental 
shock, which she sustained upon the death of a beloved relative, 
they are going out into the country to rent a farm and grow 
flowers. Benjamin particularly loves all flowers that look like 
white satin, lovely and unstained. 



THERE WAS AS YET no wartime gasoline rationing in the Middle- 
west, and they had driven, forthe beginning of their summer 
vacation, north to Ely and the deep woods of the Arrowhead 
canoe country, up to Grand Portage, which in the 1790's was 
the castle of the French and British fur traders. You can still 
see the ghosts of the voyageurs, in capotes and sashes, toting 
their canoes at twilight. 

They drove back along the vast bright palisades of the North 
Shore of Lake Superior to Grand Marais, and up the Gunflint 
Trail to a dark lake curtained with pines, where they paddled 
under a great sunset that made their voices cleave together in 
fear of loneliness, beneath that threatening majesty. 

They sat now in their car on the Skyline Boulevard, looking 
far down on the city of Duluth and the blue-and-silver vast- 
ness of Lake Superior, that blazing shield of inland ocean. 
Across this narrowed end of the lake, the Wisconsin shore rose 
into hills, and on the Minnesota side, to the eastward, the cliffs 
behind the smooth uplands of the Hollister Hills were cut by 
ravines meant for a western Rip van Winkle. The air was thinner 
and more resolute than the earthy odor of their own inland 
cornfields and valley thickets. 

Jinny mused, "It's so exciting and lovely, Duluth, between* 
hills and the sea. I've loved the whole trip Grand Marais 
the Riviera towns must lie against the hills like that. And youVe 
been so much fun, such a whale of a paddler and fly-caster. I'm 
much obliged to you, sir/' 

"Best time since our honeymoon, I think. Look at that ship 
down there, headed east." 

An ore boat, huge as a liner, was hull-down on the milk- 
white eastern horizon; it flickered in straying sun and was pres- 
ently out of sight, all but its trail of smoke. 

Cass mused, "Tomorrow it will be at the Soo. I always think 
there's a kind of sadness in the passing of ships that we might 
have taken to ports with domes and towers and bazaars and 
Asian birds. But if I were here alone in Duluth, I'd be imagining 

208 



that the steamer was sailing off with you, at sunset, and I not 

99 

on it. 

"Look! Here I am. I'm not on it!" 

Tm glad." 

Silver flaws shivered across the lake, and now another great 
red ore ship, westward-bound, was coming into sight, with 
its high pilot's deck and its coal-filled belly for the furnaces 
of Minneapolis and the Dakotas. Their pensiveness was gone 
in more prosaic cheerfulness. 

"What a lot of coal there must be in that hold for somebody 
to shovel/' considered Cass. 

"Look, pie. Let's move to Duluth. More fun than Grand 
Republic." 

"Nope. It's too large. Over a hundred thousand people. That's 
terrible bad as Chicago or London, almost. Even Grand Re- 
public is too big. I like a place where you can know people." 

"And I like a place where there are some people you can 
know!" 

"Now, now, you know plenty in G.R., and you know doggone 
well you know you know plenty. Now don't you!" 

"Oh, yes, some nice ones. Rose and Francia and Lyra and 
Valerie, my lively niece, and Nelly Sarouk and the Fliegends 
and Bradd and Frank and Rev Gadd and Tracy and Chris and 
the Blackstaffs." She meditated, and added musingly, "And 
Jay Laverick." 

"I could do without quite so much of Jay." 

"Oh, do be fair to him. Of course he's something of a pest, 
but he's such a queer, lonely specimen he needs sympathy- 
and I'm sure he admires you much more than -he does me." 

"He must admire me a lot then. Oh, let's forget Jay." 

"Let's. . . . Poor Jay." 

The ore boat, thrice whistling, demanded that the Aerial 
Bridge be lifted for its entrance to St. Louis Bay. And that night 
they heard, from their hotel in Duluth, the fog horn sounding 
first like a moaning calf, then like giants moving their giant furni- 
ture. 

Fog and snorting tug-boats, thought Cass, and great ships 

209 



upon the waters! Some day Jinny and he would know them 
in Sydney Harbor and Portsmouth and Rotterdam. 

TTiey took, for the rest of the hot summer, a lakeside cottagt 
on the north shore of Dead Squaw Lake. It was seven hundred 
and fifty feet from the cottage shared by those professional 
bachelors, Bradd Criley and Jay Laverick. 

This tiny summer colony on Dead Squaw derisively called 
itself Mushrat City. There were a dozen yellow or white shacks, 
running mostly to porches, bath-houses, boat-houses, and 
wooden-floored tents in which Junior and Sister slept. 

Only one of them had a bar, and this was the Laverick-Criley 
establishment. Inside, there were four cots, and a room con- 
taining a divan-bed, ornamented with a silken coverlet and not 
visibly used. 

In the colony were the Pennlosses, the Drovers, the Bright- 
wings, the Beecher Filligans, Vincent Osprey, that forward- 
looking young lawyer and his backward-looking wife Cerise, 
and Scott and Juliet Zago, and into it dipped scores of visitors 
from the nearby Yacht Club. 

The true American is active even in his inactivities. The 
Mushrat City colonists did not lie indolent watching the slow 
tides of the water rise and merge with slow-revolving sky till 
heaven and earth were all one sun-hued dream. No, they swam, 
they dove, they sailed, they fished for bass, they drove into 
town for the movies, they played bridge, they cooked steak 
and fish at outdoor grills, they danced to the radio, they drank 
considerably and made love cautiously. 

Grand Republic was not a singularly philanderous com- 
munity, but at Mushrat City the more earnest strayers had 
classic surroundings : deep pine woods, skiffs filled with cushions, 
and long plank piers on which lounged the nymphs and fauns 
of Thessaly, with a few satyrs. Yet among them all, only Jay 
Laverick was ever assailed as an amorist, and his friend Bradd 
Criley defended him by insisting that Jay merely flirted a little 
to cover up his one passionate ideal, liquor. 

At the neighboring Yacht Club, Dr. Roy Drover said to Bradd, 

210 



"] 

" 



fairly publicly, "So Jay isn't a chaser, eh? I don't suppose you 
are, either!" 

"I certainly am not." 

"What about Gillian Brown and Sabine the Gold-digger?" 

"Well, what about them?" 

"Weren't they seen leaving you two fellows shack at dawn on 
Wednesday?" 

'Not by me they weren't. Did you see them?" 

'Not personally." 

"Then shut up about it, Roy. I can tell you confidentially, it's 
a lie!" 

"Okay by me, Bradd. It's no skin off my neck, anyway." 

The Council of Elders, in the club bar, agreed that Dr. Drover 
had been neatly answered. They went so far as to declare that, 
whatever Jay did, Bradd was completely chaste: that is, natu- 
rally, he had a few lady friends in St. Paul or Chicago, but he 
was strictly and in the long run profitably pure and impersonal 
with his women clients, his stenographers, and his friends' wives 
and daughters. 

All day Mushrat City brawled with children dashing into 
the lake. Most of the men were in town, in their offices, except 
on Saturday and Sunday, and now, in wartime, many of the 
women joined them. Jinny and Rose Pennloss drove in every 
Wednesday and Friday, to serve as waitresses in the soldiers' 
canteen or to take coffee and sandwiches to the troop-trains. 
Cass, with his court closed, went in thrice a week and served 
on the ration board and in bond drives. All of Mushrat City 
was busy, and the only menace to its morals was Jay Laverick. 

It was unfortunate, thought Cass, that it was Jay whom Jinny 
found most entertaining. 

But so aboveboard was her liking for Jay, for his dancing, 
his air of sardonic liveliness, and so frankly did she talk about 
him, that Cass could see it would be very wrong to suspect 
her. They could scarce avoid meeting, with the swimming, 
tennis, canoeing. Jinny was a clean diver, and all afternoon at 
the Yacht Club, her hands flashed like nimble daggers as she 
dealt at bridge, but in all of these diversions Jay was the cham- 

211 



pion, when he was partly sober. Cass assured himself that all 
this was desirable, and good fun for Jinny. 

But when Pasadena Filligan, Mrs. Beecher Filligan, who her- 
self liked Jay, gave to his favorite morning drink, gin and bit- 
ters, the nickname of Jin and Jay, and it became current, then 
Cass was vexed. 

It was obvious that the one safe path for Jinny between 
empty boredom and emptier philandering was to have children. 
"Let's drop all precautions now and start the family," he blurted. 

"Yes, let's," she said. 

That was all. 

They were having a decorous Sabbath-afternoon walk, Cass 
and Roy Drover ambling on ahead of Jinny and Jay. The Cass 
who three months ago would have looked back only to gladden 
his eye with the vision of his sweet fair one could not keep from 
turning his head for less tender spying. 

He saw Jinny and Jay arm in arm. He saw Jay tuck her hand 
between his arm and his side. He saw Jinny snatch it away, but 
not too swiftly, after what seemed to be a laughing debate. 

So Cass, the Better Sort of American Husband, unhearirig 
Roy's important remarks on wild rice as duck-feed, wanted to 
go back and beg Jay please not to seduce his wife please not 
it would be so much friendlier all round if Jay didn't and 
would Jinny please forgive him for mentioning it? 

He realized that Jay saw his spying. Deserting the girl, Jay 
galloped up and cried unctuously, "Boys, did you ever have a 
wild cat bawl you out? That's what I've been getting. Jinny 
has been giving me hell for trying to make Pasadena Filligan. 
Depict that, will you? And me never so much as wondering 
whether Pas would or wouldn't. All I know is, she's a good 
tennis partner. I should chase her, or any other woman in G.R., 
when I already got a girl in Fergus. You know I have a branch 
office there. Oh, damn all women, even your brainy wife, Cass. 
Say, uh, Roy, is the health commissioner going to get after the 
sewers down by my mill?" 

But Jinny was walking airily, heel and toe, with a small smug 

212 



smile as the jaunty banner of her thoughts. She looked so gayl 
Cass ached with the sense of all the monsters that might be 
coiling around her recklessness. 

Td hate to have her get involved, and go the smeary way 

of all loose women. For my own honor, if there is such a thing, 
but more for her honor and contentment. It would kill me to 
see that secure smiling of hers turn diffident and scared and 
appealing. Dear Jinny, don't be a fool. And that's the one thing 
I can't ask you not to be. 

So these provincial and middle-class and uncomplex Sunday- 
afternoon strollers, a rural magistrate and his bourgeois friends 
and his little country wife, obviously ungifted for the passions 
and spiritual tortures of Bohemia or Mayfair or the boulevards, 
straggled through the humble, sun-quivering balsam aisles, and 
up to the Timberlane summer-cottage on the weedy lake-shore. 

The cottage, of pine clapboards apparently once painted 
green, was airy as a birdcage. The roof sloped out over the 
screened porch, which made up half the house and served as 
lounge, dining-room, observation-post for recording the doings 
of the Filligans and the Ospreys, on either side, and as Cass's 
bedroom, with a frame and mattress swinging from four steel 
chains. Inside the house were only a squat living-room, with a 
preposterous granite fireplace, Jinny's narrow bedroom, the 
kitchen, with a kerosene stove, and a toilet with a homemade 
shower-bath. Mrs. Higbee and Cleo had a one-room tarpaper 
shack to themselves, behind the main house. Cleo had become 
a sinister young huntress, a chipmunk-stalker and a dabbler after 
fish. 

The whole establishment was more camp than residence, and 
it caught the scent of pines, the breezes that were always fleeing 
in pretended panic from the lively colored, fresh-smelling lake. 

Ah let us to the country hie, and seek an humble home, we 
little care for marble halls and the woes of Tyre and Rome. 
Here peacefulness and fruitfulness and family concord glow, 
and hearts of happy harvesters with simple joys overflow. Ah, 
well we wot, we city slaves, we pay a bitter scot for our tem- 
pestuous tragedies: thank God, they know them not! Ibid. 

213 



When they came up to the cottage, Cass looked beseechingly 
at Jay, hoping that he would have the sense to go home. This 
was no Fred Nimbus whom he could bully. Jay had enough skill 
in his trade of village gallant to be able to answer, " J don't know 
what you're talking about. Do I understand you to mean that 
your wife, whom I had supposed you to respect and honor as I 
do, is an unchaste woman, or such a fool that any passer-by can 
mislead her?" 

Oh, yes, he could kill Laverick, but he could never shame him, 
never frighten him. 

"How about a little bridge, the four of us?" Jay said sunnily. 

"Not for me. I don't feel like it. I just want to sit and chew the 
rag with Roy/' said Cass. 

"Fine. Jinny, here's your chance to teach me some chess. You 
must have learned enough from ole Cass by now to be fairly 
good. We'll go up on the porch, like little mice, and not disturb 
the Big Boys." 

"Wonderful!" chirruped Jinny. 

Cass and Roy sat sourly out under the trees, on a sawbuck and 
a wheelbarrow. 

Roy grumbled, "It's none of my business, but don't you know 
that Jay isn't the kind of buzzsaw for little ladies to monkey 
with?" 

"Jay has a good line; he amuses her. But he's perfectly harm- 
less." 

"Oh, yeah? Better make sure he doesn't amuse her too much. 
Now don't get sore. I'm not going to butt in any farther. But just 
ask Pas Filligan or better yet, ask her husband just how harm- 
less Jay is. Well, here's where I go over and turn in and get a 
nap. So long. . . . Bye, Jinny! . . . She never heard me." 

Cass sat alone on the sawbuck, a seat too narrow for comfort 
but surrounded by spruce chips and sawdust with a friendly 
smell. He wanted some such small homeliness, for he was pic- 
turing a menacing procession. 

Tracy Olesen, Eino Roskinen, Abbott Hubbs, Bertie 

Eisenherz, Fred Nimbus, Jay Laverick. None of them dangerous, 
but I wish she weren't quite so enthusiastic about the virtues of 
quite so many nonentities. 

214 



When Jay was gone, Cass and Jinny swam out to the farther 
float. He had a crawl-stroke, steady and uninspired as the pound- 
ing of a freight-steamer, untiring and faster than it looked. She 
flirted with the water like a sail boat. They sat then on the nar- 
row sand-beach, baking. She was tanned a soft brown; he, in his 
trunks, chest hard and arching, was of a coppery red-Indian 
hue. Relaxed thus, it was easier for him to blurt it all out: 

"Sweet, I'm not jealous of Jay, but he's around here too much. 
A bold desperado, that fellow. He always keeps it up till some- 
body slaps him down. Won't you do it for me?" 

"Oh, good Heavens, just because I enjoy playing tennis with 
him, and he talks amusingly " 

"Quit that!" 

"What?" 

"I know all his virtues better than you do. He's been con- 
spicuously displaying them for a long time now. But you know 
and I know that he's on the make, and what's worse, he knows 
perfectly well that we know it, and if we allow him around here 
at all, we practically confirm his ethics. I wish you'd tell him 
yourself to quit acting the up-creek Casanova/' 

"Why, dearest, of course I will, if you want me to, though I 
honestly don't think he has any yen for me whatever. He's far tqo 
much interested in Pas Filligan." Her eyes were suddenly fixed 
and angry. "Blast her!" 

"Why, Jinny, you aren't that much taken with him? You aren't 
jealous of Pas?" 

"What? How? Of Pas? Heavens, no! I just meant I was irri- 
tated by the whole gang of themthe Filligans and Jay and the 
whole bunch. Aah! They're so sloppy. You're right. You're single- 
minded and good." 

That night he lay relaxed and secure, listening to the wind in 
the pines, far in the north beside the lonely lake. 

She chastened the petitionary Mr. Laverick simply and with 
dreadful effectiveness. At a Yacht Club dance, the next Saturday, 
when Jay was being especially attentive, she yelled publicly, 
"Why, Mr. La-ver-ick, are you trying to flirt with me? Back to 
your Irish bogs, ye little black divvle." 

215 



She knew that the one thing about which Jay was sensitive 
was the extreme boggishness of his swarthy paternal grand- 
father, who had been born between nothing and an east wind. 
When he had migrated to America, he had worked on a railroad 
section-gang, and had died in a kennel called The Pipes of Erin, 
which was a Swedish-owned German saloon and Chinese chop- 
suey joint on Washington Avenue, in Minneapolis. 

Jay left her flat, and went to the bar. The good Judge was sur- 
prised to find how pleased he was by her rudeness. 

He spoke to Bradd Criley. 

"I wish you'd have a talk with your friend Jay. He buzzes 
around Jinny entirely too much." 

"I certainly will. I'm fond of Jay, and he isn't as bad as he acts, 
but he is a crazy fool. I won't tell him you spoke to me, Cass. Til 
just say I admire Jinny, and will he lay off, or else." 

"Thank you, Bradd/' 

"And of course it's true. I've always loved Jinny like an uncle, 
and I want to protect her almost as much as you do." 

"I'm sure of it, and I'm mighty grateful." 

So. the truce of God was proclaimed, and Cass and Jinny were 
trusting lovers again, sitting in the northern twilight, with Cleo 
slipping ghost-like among the trees. 

They settled to village peace by the lake, content with humbler 
establishments than the summer estates of the Wargates or 
Bertie Eisenherz, who had a small lake of his own. With Bertie, 
Jinny had learned what trans- Atlantic passengers learn: that 
you never see vacation-time intimates except on the street. 

When she gave up the ways of dalliance, she went out for 
swimming so powerfully that she became a threat to the lady 
Olympic champions for two weeks. 

At all sports she was more deft and quick-learning and natural 
than Cass. She dived, played tennis and golf, rode, paddled, 
with joy and style and innate talent, and with innate sloppiness. 
Cass was awkward at learning, and he gave no signs of particu- 
larly enjoying these games, but he mastered them better than 
Jinny, and he wanted to keep on picking away at them long after 
she was bored. 

216 



But all such competition vanished in the problems of com- 
parative wealth. Cass had become rich for Cass. 



31 



HE CAME BACK from town, he yelled "Jin-nee!" in front of their 
summer cottage, and brought her tumbling down out of an old 
crabapple tree where she had been curled up asleep, with Cleo 
asleep in her arms. 

"Jinny," he inquired, "would you think one hundred and ten 
thousand dollars was a lot of money?" 

'1 would think anything over five dollars was a lot of money. 
Why?" 

"That is the fabulous sum we now possess." 

"Money! Dresses! Singhalese scarfs! A red collar for Cleo! A 
'Liebestodt' record! Has somebody been bribing you? Oh,, 
goody!" 

"Nothing as interesting as that. Mm. How I would hate to have 
somebody offer me a hundred-thousand-dollar bribe! I'd have to 
refuse it " 

"Why?" 

"Oh, you know." 

'No, I don't! Why?" 

'I can't explain why, but I would, of course." 

"How about two hundred thousand?" 

"Now don't go on raising. I just refused one hundred thousand, 
didn't I? Let's say hastily that we've proved the principle, and 
get on with the experiment." 

"But honestly, what would be your limit?" 

"Jinny, how much would you want for selling your virtue?" 

"To which man?" 

"Say just an average man." 

"Do you mean indoors or outdoors?" 

"Say outdoors." 

"Do you mean on a summer night like this, with a full moon, 

or a night in January Ah, poor sweet, you don't really think 

that's funny, do you!" 

217 



"1 
" 



"But listen now. This hundred thousand that we already 
have " 

"And ten!" 

"And ten. My father left me enough so IVe been able to keep 
about fifty thousand dollars ahead, put away in good securities. 
And he also left me that block of stores and flats down in the 
South End. Here lately, they were almost empty, paying me 
almost nothing, but with Wargate's and the other factories 
doubling war production, there's come to be a big shortage in 
housing in the South End, and today Frank Brightwing told me 
he can get sixty thousand dollars for the property, spot-cash, and 
I'd Ve said it wasn't worth more than thirty. Oh, Lord!** 

"You're not glad. You don't want to do it?" 

"I have done it. I have a nice check for sixty thousand dollars, 
minus three-thousand commission, in my pocket." 

"Oh, lemme see, lemme see, lemme see, good gracious sakes, 
let me see that lovely thing!" 

Together, solemnly, they looked at the meager slip of paper 
on which was written "Fifty-seven thousand ( $57,000 & 00/100 ) " 
and which, by the magic of this credulous era, would trustingly 
be accepted by strangers in return for brick houses and roasts 
of beef and tickets to Hamlet and safety for death-haunted refu- 
gees from tyranny. 

Jinny said reverently, "Now is that a pretty trick! Hey wait! 
Do you mean to tell me Frank Brightwing gets three thousand 
dollars of our money? Why, I call that scandalous! But a minute 

ago Why were you oh-Lording? A thing like that elegant 

piece of paper, I should think it would be something that all the 
angels would rejoice over, and even Ma Prutt would look half- 
way pleased. Why so pale and wan, young capitalist?" 

"Oh, I dunno to get this increased price it seems like profi- 
teering on the war. Of course I can put most of it into war 
bonds * 

No criminal lawyer has ever attacked more fierily than did 
Jinny. Cass was smothered. She tore him down from thirty-five 
thousand dollars of war bonds to five, and nearly had him down 
to three, and within half an hour, without knowing better than 
any layman how the contract had been put over, he had pledged 

218 



himself to his boss to invest another five thousand in more specu- 
lative stocks, put forty-five thousand into a new house and the 
appertaining furniture, and devote two thousand to their strictly 
private blowing-in. 

He fretted that Jinny was not overly generous in her patriot- 
ism, but then he fretted that none of them were. Like almost 
every other Good Citizen at any time, he did very little except 
the fretting. 

He did not know that he was committed, beyond the power of 
the court, to buying the new house and deserting the ancient 
comfort of Bergheim. He believed that he was "still thinking it 
over," and in the security of that belief he went to sleep, that 
night, while inside the cottage she sat brooding for hours, her 
small hands, so apt at pencil, at golf -stick, at the hammer, 
clutched ardently, like a child's, round her knees. She stared at a 
candle till the tallow took shapes of towers and spires, of ocean 
steamers and flaunting bridges, of studios in Paris, of a great 
stage in New York and a little exciting figure in the center. 

He awoke on his porch-swing to peer in at her, and clumped 
in to kiss her excited cheeks, her clasped hands. She circled his 
neck with bare arms, muttering, "Never any one but you, my 
darling. I do want a lot of silly things, and you give them to me, 
but I want you more. I wish sometimes it could be I who give, 
and not always you/' 

The debate about buying a new house started all over again 
next morning, as already-thoroughly-settled domestic debates 
always do. 

Cass said profoundly, "Uh uh About buying a new house, 

And of course, with wartime restrictions, it will be impossible to 
build one. And I don't honestly see any likelihood of our caring 
for a house that somebody else has arranged to suit themselves. 
Do you see?" 

"Yes, it 1 think this grape fruit and orange marmalade 

knocks the spot off straight orange. You, Cleo, you get off this 
table, and don't knock over Isis, either." 

"I think it's absolutely superstitious of you, if not infantile, to 
have that crystal image always in sight, honey." 

219 



"Isn't it though! See Frazer, The Golden Bough. Yes. You 
know, we'll have trouble making room enough for all your books 
in the new house, -whichever one we get/' 

"But I don't That's what I want to talk about/' 

"I knew it, I knew it, oh, my pet, I absolutely knew it. I said 
to a robin, when I woke this morning, I said, 'Robin, I'll bet you 
two worms that Mr. Timberlane will want to talk about the in- 
sanity of buying a new house/ " 

"Well, I do." 

"Do what, Judge?" 

'Think so." 

"Think what?" 

"That we must consider very carefully whether we really want 
to do this. We have a very fine old house now, and to get a new 
one would be spending our capital." 

"But you can sell the old one/' 

"I don't know whether that would be so easy." 

"But if it's such a grand fine old place as you say?" 

"Yes, yes, that's Have to protect our capital. I might very 

easily be defeated for judge at the next election, and then what 
would we have to live on?" 

"You might practise a little law and make a what is it? a mo- 
dicum? maybe about five times as much as your present salary, 
and so we'd get along." 

"Maybe." 

"Darling!" She stopped being flippant; she spoke like the first 
young cavewoman in the morning of history who resolved that 
her mate and she must leave their damp cave on the hillside and 
struggle down into the bright dangerous plains. "Let's be young 
while we're still young!" 

"I know," he said. 

"Let's get a house in the Country Club District if we can find 
one, I mean, that isn't too expensive gay and shiny and lots of 
light not like our old morgue in town." 

"Bergheim isn't a morgue." 

"The corpses never know that a morgue is a morgue/' 

'1 didn't know you felt that way about it." 

"I didn't, till this minute. And you know, really the chief thing 

220 



I'm thinking about is how much more convenient a modern 
kitchen would be for Mrs. Higbee." 

"Overruled." 

"Well, anyway, I did think some about it, and some about 
me entertaining in a Spanish drawing-room, looking like the 
Duchess of Windsor." 

"Baby, you're either as childish as Juliet Zago, or You 

really want a new house?" 

"Yes." 

'Til think about it.** 

They knew what that meant. 

He drove into town and, as though he had not seen it for sev- 
eral years, he stared at Bergheim, his boyhood notion of a castle, 
his first citadel as a citizen, a counselor, a judge, the lifelong 
repository of his dreams, filled with contradictory and devastat- 
ing memories of Blanche and Jinny. 

He clumped through the house noticing how surprisingly 
much cat-hair Cleo had managed to leave on the chairs and he 
was certain that he would miss these solid walls, these un- 
cramped rooms, the irregular hallways and unexpected closets. 
In the backyard he admired the carriage-house with its haughty 
cupola which, as a boy, he had considered the seal of elegance. 
He mooned over the espaliered pears, the thick and comfortable 
backyard grass that takes a generation to grow, the view from the 
bluff across twin valleys. He knew here a little of the tradition 
that makes a Leicestershire squire, a Silesian Junker, a gentle- 
man of Touraine quiet and enduring and dangerous. 

This Country Club District that Jinny coveted it was a 
parvenu colony next to the Heather golf course, on a peninsula 
thrust out from the south shore of Dead Squaw Lake. This 
"brand-new, up-to-the-second, streamlined home-development 
for gracious living" had been planned for the sons of Ottawa 
Heights, the grandsons of the extravagant mansions on Beltrami 
Avenue South, and newcomers who had wriggled their way into 
this three-whole-generations aristocracy. The houses there were 
sleek and well planned; they had steel-and-glass kitchens and 

221 



tinted toilet-paper; but they were too close together, too small, 
too much like hotel-suites. 

Thus meditating, he returned to Mushrat City, to coax Jinny 
please not to buy a house but do a lot of striking things with 
paint at Bergheim. 

She met him clamoring, "Beautiful, Pas Filligan says she thinks 
we'd like the Simmers house you know, that Spanish-hacienda 
number just beyond the Heather Club. She says the inside is 
wonderful and behind it," reverently, "there's a swimming-pool! 
Lemme in the car, lemme in! Let's go see it right now. There's a 
key at the club. Let's go!" 

Somehow, as they drove round the lake, Cass could not advo- 
cate painting the Bergheim kitchen, and putting tin over the 
major rat-holes, as a substitute for a hacienda-house with a 
swimming-pool. 

And it was quite a house, too. 

From the front they saw a roof of alternate red and yellow 
tiles, a wooden ox-bow with two ship's-lanterns suspended from 
it, and an outside cement stairway leading down to a honey- 
suckle bush that was not really remarkable enough to have a 
special stairway for it. 

Mm. They probably use the stairs for jumping off into 

snowdrifts in winter. 

He was rigidly silent; she was silent like a head-turning little 
bird, as they went through the place. The rooms were small and, 
with tiled floors and imitation-antique beams, as oppressive as 
cells. Above the Mexican fireplace in the living-room a long crack 
in the wall showed that, after only ten years, the house was sink- 
ing. They considered the kitchen, daintily done in pink, green, 
dark blue, and bronze, and went out to the swimming-pool, 
which was a nothingness lined with cracked cement. 

Then Jinny spoke, tenderly. 

"All right, all right, Judge. I always did think it was a mistake 
for us to invite Cortez over." 

But it seemed to be understood between them that, since she 
had so freely rejected this horror, he could not suggest that they 
should not buy a new house at all. 

222 



They knew the house hunter s shameless joy ot intrusion; ot 
looking into closets full of forlorn clothes, medicine cabinets 
with surprising accessories, sumptuous wine-closets that con- 
tained nothing but a bottle and a half of rye and one can of sar- 
dines. They studied and extensively talked about terraces, tennis 
courts, linen closets, automatic-feed furnaces, "breakfast nooks," 
and basements which, containing pool tables and home-made 
bars, were appallingly known as "rumpus-rooms." 

Frank Brightwing, their real-estate expert, grew irritable, Cass 
was exhausted, but Jinny strode on, unquenchable. She could 
examine the eighteenth closet in sequence with undiminished 
enthusiasm, and three days later could remember the dimensions 
of each closet and how many hangers there were in it and 
whether it had a full-length mirror in the door. It did not, how- 
ever, occur to Frank or to Cass that, with the opportunity, she 
would have been a better real-estate man than either of them. 

They decided quite suddenly on a house, in the Country Club 
District, which they had twice dismissed as "too plain" and now 
saw as dignified in its simplicity: a plaster house with a flat roof 
and drawing-room windows down to the floor; what Brightwing 
called "a fine restrained example of the French-type house/* It 
could just as well have been called an English-type house, a 
Lombardy-type house, or a Salzkammergut-type house; it was, 
in fact, a plaster house. It had almost as many closets as Jinny 
wanted, almost as much radiator-surface as Cass wanted, a cub- 
byhole for Cass's desk, and a good view across the lake. 

Jinny said that the long windows would be "nice for a lawn- 
partypeople can run in and out." Cass thought it would be 
abominable to have people running in and out, whether through 
doors, windows or chimneys, and he considered floor-length 
windows a wretched idea for Minnesota winters. But if she was 
happy, then so was he. 

The house had been built for Harold W. Whittick, owner of 
Station KICK, who had moved into a flat in one of the few 
apartment houses in Grand Republic, to be near his radio sta- 
tionor, as he put it, "to the transmission of the critical bulletins 
of this portentous hour of conflict/' 

Neither Cass nor Harold W. Whittick knew that Groseilliers 

223 



and Radisson, possibly the first white men in Minnesota, had 
camped upon this site in 1660. It is a pity that Harold did not 
know. He might have given those explorers the most gratifying 
publicity throughout this rich agricultural and dairying section 
with convenient access to all railroads and wholesale markets. 

In treachery to her years at Bergheim, Mrs. Higbee placidly 
preferred the new house and the new kitchen, and perhaps Isis 
did also she did not indicate. But Cleo was melancholy about it. 

Jinny insisted on their taking a special journey from Mushrat 
City to show Cleo her new home, and when Cass objected that 
the government wanted them to save gasoline, Jinny explained, 
"Now do you suppose the President is going to say to the Secre- 
tary of War, *Look, Harry, there's that dratted Jinny Marshland 
wasting gas on a cat?* I bet they won't even notice." 

It was not easy to convince Jinny that Cleo might be so occu- 
pied in her office of grand inquisitor to the heretic field mice 
that she could endure waiting another day. 

When Cleo did actually see the place, she was difficult about 
it. They followed her while she examined every room. She re- 
peatedly stopped to ask "Meow?" in a way that said, "Is this all?" 

There were Cleo counted them not so many rooms as at 
Bergheim. There were no unlighted closets, no dark attic stairs, 
no exquisite dark triangles of space under the eaves, no trap- 
doors, no earth-floored corners in the basement, no place at all 
where a respectable cat might expect mice or beetles, or could 
hide from a harsh and mocking world. 

"I suppose you sympathize with that animal," sighed Jinny, in 
a sad little voice. 

"No, no," Cass lied. "Maybe we'll miss the old barracks for a 
while, but I already love this place more, because you're more 
in it, in every line." 

So Cleo went off in a huff and was found in the empty garage, 
growling. 

They would use but little furniture from Bergheim in the new 
house; they would leave the old castle as it was, and rent it till 
it should be sold. They had their sprees of buying, in Grand Re- 

224 



public, in St. Paul and Minneapolis, and then; in mid-August, 
he blurted out the plan that he had been nursing. 

Except for the Florida journey, she had still never been east 
of Chicago. 

"Well have to wait for all the new furnishings to arrive, and 
meanwhile, what do you say to our taking another honeymoon 
trip?" he said. 

"Do you think we ought to? Spending so much money we*!! 
have to economize. Oh. I must remember to turn off the lights 
when I leave a room." 

"But later we may not get much chance be less and less travel 
with the war on and suppose the trip I was thinking of was to 
New York?" 

"New York!" she said reverently. 



225 



An Assemblage of Husbands and Wives 

NESTOR & FANNY PURDWIN 

NESTOR PURDWIN was born in an October gale in Illinois in 1871. 
He came to Minnesota in a blizzard in 1890, and married Fanny 
Clark during an April freshet in 1891, with the roads deplorable 
but the horizon clear. 

He was next-to-the-best criminal lawyer in Grand Republic, 
and he was honest. He never knowingly declared that a scoun- 
drel or a man of cruelty was harmless, though he might assert 
that there were excuses for him. He represented many of the 
labor unions, but he was also summoned by corporations in civil 
cases, because they often needed an adviser who could say No. 

He was a middleroad-to-leftwing Democrat and a convinced 
Episcopalian. He detested Sweeney Fishberg for being a Jew, 
an Irishman, a Catholic, a mystic, and a Communist. In the old 
days, when he had once been associated in a trial with Clarence 
Darrow, he had detested Darrow for being an agnostic and a 
socialist-anarchist-syndicalist-populist. Yet in most suits and on 
most committees he had somehow found himself standing with 
Fishberg and Darrow, and when the veteran liberal, Salem Volk, 
from Queen City, came to town, he stayed, often and argumen- 
tatively, with the Purdwins. 

He was always roaring. He roared equally against high-church 
rectors named Cecil and Four Square Gospellers named Pete, 
against tabloid newspapers and glossy magazines and "fool 
women who are too lazy to read the papers and magazines.*' 

He had never gone to college, but he read Plato, Voltaire, 
Alexander Pope, Mencken, Bernard Shaw, and Sir Thomas 
Browne. 

Fanny and he had been married for fifty years, and had bick- 
ered continuously in a tart, humorous, satisfied way, and she 
never failed to defend him against everybody else with whom he 
bickered. 

"Yes, I know how cranky he must Ve been to you. The man 

226 



is worse than a bear in a beehive. But don't tell me about it. I 
love him/' 

When Judge Blackstaff was reported as having said that Mr. 
Purdwin was "not a gentleman," Fanny mused, "Ain't he? That's 
good. Neither am I." 

For fifty years they had slept in an immense, bosomy double- 
bed. His parting kiss to her each morning was a testy little peck 
on the lips, but if he forgot it, she was grieved for an hour but 
never for more than an hour and she never reproached him 
for it. 

Exactly once in the fifty years he had tried an extra-matri- 
monial experiment, with a hotel stenographer. He had neither 
enjoyed it, repeated it, nor told her about it. 

He loved porridge for breakfast, and every morning, three 
hundred and sixty-five mornings a year, they had porridge. It 
was after thirty-two years of it that Fanny reported, a bit re- 
luctantly, "I think I'm beginning to like the nasty stuff." 



32 



THE TIMBERLANES followed the ancient line of provincial tour- 
ists going to the capitals: Boeotians to Athens, Tatar caravans to 
Tibet, Artie and Mrs. Beppin of the Five Towns to London: ex- 
cited, credulous, terrified of the boorishness and cheating that 
they expected to encounter. 

The question, ancient before the first woman from Petra went 
up to Jerusalem, of whether Jinny should have new dresses made 
at home or get them more splendidly in the metropolis, was as 
usual compromised. She bought a gray suit that Harley Bozard 
assured her was a "fast little number, just in from New York," 
and left the rest for Babylon. 

Their train from Chicago to New York was an arrow of light. 
They had a compartment, this time, and none of their honey- 
moon apprehension. The train was filled with the most beautiful 
people, lovely girls, saintly old ladies, smooth but stalwart men 
with clothes and shell-rimmed spectacles and wrist-watches 
right out of the magazine advertisements. 

Cass let himself relax and enjoy it. In his days in Congress he 
had not gone to New York often enough to be weary of it, and 
he was all holiday. He spoke not only to the Pullman porter, to 
whom it was no novelty, but to a clergyman and a traveling-man, 
and when a man in herring-bone tweed invited him to play 
bridge, and chuckled, "I warn you, though, the wife and I are 
professional gamblers," Cass answered, "My wife certainly is. 
She gambled on marrying me." 

The man thought that was a pretty good joke. 

The man said to his wife, "Our new friend here has made a 
pretty good joke." 

She said, "Come on now don't be a tightwad what's his 
pretty good joke?"' 

"He said the little woman took a worse risk in getting hitched 
to him than she ever did in bridge." 

<c Yes, and what a gamble he took on getting you to handle the 
rights to his pretty good joke. Let's go!" 

They played bridge through sixteen counties and forty-two 

228 



college towns of Ohio, and had four Scotch highballs and shook 
hands all round. Jinny had won sixty-two cents and a lipstick, 
and Cass had lost one dollar. 

"I'm a little drunk," he said with self-approval, as they wove 
into their compartment. 

"You get younger every day. When I first met you, you were 
sixty-one. Now you're a bright thirty-four," she approved. 

They were up early. People from Grand Republic do get up at 
the most surprising times and places. Along the Hudson, the 
river of Presidents, Jinny was thrilled by West Point, the Taj 
Mahal, and the leaves of Vallombrosa. Suddenly there was an 
apartment house twenty stories high, and he exulted, "This is 
it!" She held his hand softly, and whispered, "I love you!" 

But the Grand Central Terminal was too much for her: an 
underground city in which all the inhabitants were going to a 
fire. She clung to her stalwart Cass, a fellow who could beat off 
these shoving maniacs, as they doubtfully gave their precious, 
so-neatly-packed bags over to a redcap, dotted up an incline, 
crossed through an incredible room a thousand feet tall, and took 
a taxicab, not in the wholesome fresh air but in a tunnel. In the 
taxi she still snuggled close to him for protection, and fluttered, 
Tin going to have a magnificent time, but let me catch my 
breath. Does it get any worse?" 

As they blessedly came out into the light, she found that part 
of the taxi roof was of glass, and she gazed up in beatific idiocy. 

"Look! Up there! That must be the Empire State Building or 
the Wrigley Building or something! Oh, jiminy, they are high. 
You know high! I never felt so small. Don't you dare leave me 
one minute all the time we're here!" 

She was less exalted when the taxicab stopped meechingly at 
the Melchester Arms, which Bradd Criley, as an expert on New 
York, had recommended. "It's smaller and less expensive, but 
it's one of the smartest hotels in town," he said. "That's where the 
real New Yorkers go, say while they're opening up their apart- 
ments in the fall." (Actually, the only native New Yorkers 
who frequented the Melchester were clothes-pressers, jobbing 
barbers, and telegraph messengers. ) 

It was a smaller hotel and rather plainer than the Pineland, 

229 



back home, and the lobby was a block of darkness surrounding 
a large oak table with piles of magazines about travel and the 
Y.M.C.A. upon it. The clerk was a short, scaly, ill-disposed man 
with that thin and revelatory hair which is balder than baldness. 
He looked up at them as though he was getting good and tired 
of having strangers come in and speak to him without an intro- 
duction. 

"I, uh we have a reservation for a two-room suite," said Cass. 

"What is the name?" 

"Timberlane. Grand Republic. Minnesota/* . 

The clerk, after having looked painstakingly through a file of 
cards containing names beginning with I and E, sighed, "What 
was that name again?" 

"Timberlane." 

"Oh. I see! With a T. Tamburlaine." 

"No, no. Timberlane. Tamburlaine is from Marlowe/' 

"Well, we get a lot of people from Marlowe, too. The Mel- 
chester is a great favorite with all you folks from the Middle- 
west/' 

As he laboriously went at the cards again, Jinny muttered, 
"Why don't you tell him you're a judge and an ex-congressman, 
and give him a good time? He needs one. " 

"Kitten, in this town, everybody's an ex-congressman. We're 
just a couple of rural nobodies." 

"And how! This suit that Harley sold me I'm beginning to 
find potato bugs and alfalfa seeds in it. But Aloysius here is no 
Vanderbilt. I suppose New York has the biggest everything 
even the biggest hicks. Let me slap him, darling, just once." 

The clerk turned to them again and said accusingly, "Timber- 
lane, that's the name!" 

"That's so," admitted Cass. 

"Front!" said the clerk, suspiciously. 

The elderly bellboy awoke from his dreams of the Civil War, 
conducted them to their suite, and gloomily accepted fifty cents. 
He was barely gone when Jinny protested, "Four bits? For that 
jerk? I'd of brought the bags up for ten cents! There you go, 
being the typical tourist you read about, overtipping and hurling 
thousands of dollars around when you have a greedy wife that 

230 



could use it for luncheon-sets. Okay. Bankrupt the firm and see 

f T 

if I care. 

-They had recovered the gaiety which had been dimmed in the 
hotel lobby, and they went down, arm in arm, to ask of the clerk 
where they could get theater tickets for tonight. 

Maybe there was a ticket agency, over on Sixth Avenue and 
down three blocks? How would he know? He was busy, and 
really it wasn't his job 

They left him hastily and at the agency inquired benevolently, 
like people willing to spend their money and confer a favor, 
whether for tonight they could get superior seats for Life with 
Father or for Arsenic and Old Lace. 

The agent said genially, "You folks from out of town?" 

"How did you guess it?" Jinny said viciously. 

He looked at her, unanswering, he winked at her husband, and 
he offered, "I can get you tickets for either show for about the 
middle of next November. What you want for tonight is Slips 
and Slippers." 

"Do we?" worried Cass. 

"Maybe not. I wouldn't know. All I'm telling you is that it's the 
best musical in New York for ten years, and I happen to have 
two good seats, but if you don't want 'em " 

The seats cost $6.60 each. 

When they were outside, Jinny begged, "Have you any room 
in your vest-pocket, now you've taken out all that money?" 

"Why?" 

"That rat made me feel so small when he winked at you that 
I could fit right in alongside your watch now. Jinny isn't up to 
this town. They got street-cars and everything. *Could we go 
back to Grand Republic right after the show tonight? Slips and 
Slippers] Six-sixty! Look! He meant sixty-six cents, didn't he?" 

Their train had arrived in mid-morning. All day they viewed 
New York, by bus and elevated and taxicab. There was so fabu- 
lously much to master that they felt they would never master 
any of it. To them it was all a jungle-spawning of people and 
buildings, fierce and purposeless. The tempo of the city rattled 

231 



them: the quick turn of everyone's head, the hard glance, the 
high nasal intensity of the voices. 

They came back to their hotel suite correct enough in its 
white paneling, but inhumanand fell desperately asleep and 
awakened almost too late for their musical show. Jinny insisted 
that it was Isis, continuing her education by staring out of the 
window at the Manhattan streets, who had aroused them. 

They reasoned that it would be clever to have a sandwich 
within walking-distance of the theater, and dine sumptuously 
at some gaudy restaurant afterward. Cass told Jinny that he had 
been responsibly informed that in Madrid people dined as late 
as ten-thirty. Probably even eleven. She said brightly, Yes, she 
had heard so. 

It made them feel that they were already in Europe. 

They found a Broadway restaurant the size of Grand Re- 
public, with lovely black and red signs announcing that here 
one might have sandwiches made of smoked turkey, caviar, 
deviled ham with chives, or sixteen other rich materials. Nothing 
like this at home! they rejoiced. 

The farther hill-country of the interior of the restaurant was 
filled with daises, mezzanines, balconies, and quarter-decks, 
while the valley was jammed with circular bars, S-shaped lunch- 
counters, wall-seats, divans, and booths, and all of these filled, 
and twenty people herded at the door waiting, apologetic for 
wanting to eat during wartime, while the restaurant's private 
supreme court looked at the trespassers punitively. With the 
other prisoners waited Judge and Mrs. Timberlane. They felt 
that there was something obscene about wanting to eat at all, 
in this choking atmosphere of corned beef and cabbage, among 
this queue of dehumanized serfs who had no longer any power 
of resentment. 

Jinny answered something that Cass hadn't yet even said with, 
"You're telling me you like Grand Republic better!" 

When they were finally herded to a table for two, they found 
that by merely cutting off one arm and one leg each, and balanc- 
ing the glass of water on the sandwich plate which rested on 
the unordered and unwanted plate of shredded cabbage under 

232 



which were tucked the knives and forks and the paper napkins, 
they could manage very well. 

Their sandwiches were called Oaxaca Specials, and among 
other ores they recognized bacon, peanut butter, currant jelly, 
chicken feet and iodine. It cost one dollar. 

Each of the sandwiches cost one dollar. 

Jinny whimpered, "About that Grand Republic now. I shall 
never leave it again. Oh, that beautiful, beautiful hash we used 
to have, back in civilization!" 

On the street again, she speculated, "Couldn't we give our 
tickets to one of these pencil-sellers and magic ourselves back 

to Let's go over to the Zagos and have some rummy. I never 

realized what a wide-browed genius Juliet Zago is. Wouldn't I 
like to see her and Scott right this minute! Pal, could I please 
kick the next couple that crowd me into the gutter? I guess 
maybe it would be wonderful to be in New York, if all seven 
million of 'em didn't want to occupy the same spot we're walking 
over, all at the same time." 

They arrived in the theater as in a calm haven, but that was 
the last calm they felt till they were back in their hotel, with 
Jinny trying to 'explain it all to Isis. 

They never did discover what the musical play was about. 
From having attended the more salacious burlesque shows in 
Minneapolis, when he was a student, Cass had a few notions, but 
Jinny was entirely bewildered. There was, in the plot, a young 
lieutenant who was serving in Tahiti, but as he was simul- 
taneously rowing on the Vassar crew and selling paper drinking- 
cups to a Turkish harem, it was hard to follow his stream of con- 
sciousness. There was also a pair of funny fellows with jokes 
about the less attractive vices. 

Cass and Jinny sat with hand tight in hand, unsmiling, un- 
comfortable, wondering what the laughter was about. At inter- 
mission, Jinny said only "Six-sixty!" but after the show, as they 
hobbled away through the funereally festive crowd, "I'm old- 
fashioned and I like it! Honey, if we got a plane, a very fast 
plane, maybe we could see Cleo before dawn and find out if 
that beast of an upholsterer at Tarr's has the curtains up in the 
new house yet. You know, they always advertise how fast you 

233 



can fly to New York, but what would inspire deep public confi- 
dence would be to tell how fast and far you can get away from 
New York. Oh, my sweet, you've got poor Jinny caught and 
happy in a sun-trap at home for the rest of her life!'* 

They had read, in the syndicated gossip columns devoted to 
the gracious doings of cafe society, about the Marmoset Club, 
that debonair night restaurant, that Bowery saloon in a velvet 
evening-cloak, where cigarette-bejittered heiresses are photo- 
graphed with flyers, and cinema press-agents exchange copy- 
righted wisecracks with abortionists, but after the Broadway 
sandwich-abbatoir, they were ready to be disappointed. Yet the 
Marmoset was even more select, smart, exclusive, fashionable, 
knowing, chic, gracious, elegant, decorative, glamorous, glitter- 
ing, glistening, shimmering, witty, sophisticated, mundane, gay, 
international, deft, urbane, and generally expensive than had 
been proclaimed by the columnists. 

The very small lobby was a jewel-box in which stood a young 
gentleman with the clothes of a whisky advertisement, the eyes 
of a detective, the gentle effrontery of a diplomat, and the accent 
of the Bronx. 

"Uh " said Cass, and again, "Uh can we get a table?** 

"Have you a reservation?" 

"XT 

N-no. 

Jinny said in perfectly clear, sweet, womanly tones, "Lef s get 
the hell out of here. I don't like him/' 

The palace eunuch instantly recognized her then as a distin- 
guished movie actress, and he said almost humbly, 'Til see what 
I can do. I'm sure I can find you something, madame." 

He did quite well for them, too. He found a table in the Que- 
Voulez-Vous Room, the largest of the five that made up the 
Marmoset, despite the fact that it was almost half full. 

Well, and it was a beautiful room, and Cass and Jinny had to 
admit it; better even than the Fiesole Room at the Hotel Pine- 
land, back home. The walls were lined with gray silk, tucked and 
flaring; under the crimson ceiling were constellations of crystal; 
and there was a delicate, rustling quiet except at a center table 

234 



where a male clothes-designer was breaking a rather elderly 
lady's heart and in a corner where an authoress was breaking her 
contract. 

Word had been carried by the restaurant's efficient O.G.P.U. 
that the pretty girl with the white mantle was somebody im- 
portant in Hollywood and the man with her either a doctor or 
a major in mufti. This was no sensation at the Marmoset. That 
new Monte Carlo could really have been stirred only by the 
appearance of the President with Queen Nefertiti. But it did 
insure a captain of waiters coming to take their order without 
disciplining them by making them wait. 

However, by the ease with which he sold them a bottle of 
Peruvian champagne and mushrooms a noisette under glass, he 
could see that here was only another dull pair of uncelebrities. 
He passed the word, and Cass and Jinny went back into the re- 
frigerator. No one even glanced at .them, except the male de- 
signer, who looked designing. 

Cass saw Jinny's spirit paling in her, and he urged abruptly, 
'Well, you're the prettiest girl here. There isn't one that has your 
fire or your eyes or a clear skin like yours." 

"And you're the only man here that looks as if he could fight 
a battle or build a town." 

More silence, out of which she burst, "If I saw Boone and 
Queenie Havock over at a table there, I'd go over and I'd kiss 
both of 'em. Twice. And I would request Boone, but very nicely, 
to stand up and holler, 'Do you clams know who this is? This is 
Judge Timberlane and his young wife, d' you hear me?' " 

"And Boone would probably do it." 

"And Boone would certainly do it. That's why I adore him 
now." 

That was Monday evening, the end of Jinny's first day among 
the revelries of New York. 

Comfortingly close to each other, they slept in one of the twin 
beds, for shelter against the bleak wind of urban indifference, 
while all night the little crystal cat looked out on the prison wall 
of the New York street. It seemed very small on the broad white 
sill. 

235 



There is a Grand Republic colony in New York, as there is a 
Smyrna colony, a Benares colony, a Reykjavik colony, and it is 
the duty of that colony to be gleeful at the arrival of all visitors 
from the home town, and to take them to that restaurant at 
which the ordeal of being cordial can be most quickly got over 
most inexpensively. Equally, it is the duty of the visitors to tele- 
phone to all members of the colony upon arrival and to allow 
themselves to be becordialed. (There are also cases in which 
the two parties to the social contract really want to see each 
other.) 

With a notion of being thoughtful and not binding them, Cass 
had not written of his coming to any of the colonists, nor to 
Dennis Thane, the only one of his classmates in the University 
of Minnesota law school whom he knew to be in New York. The 
stuttering task of finding his old acquaintances he took up on 
Tuesday morning, while Jinny, cocking her bare toes, com- 
mented with ribaldry from the rumpled bed. 

Mrs. Byron Grannick? She was still at Stockbridge. 

Dr. Cope Anderson, the chemist? He was still at his laboratory 
on Cape Cod. 

Mr. and Mrs. Kenny Wargate? They were still at Easthampton. 

By now Cass felt empty and unwanted. 

He reached only Dennis Thane ( of the law-firm of Crossbow, 
Murphy, and Thane), who invited them for lunch tomorrow, 
and Bradd Criley's sister, Mrs. William Elderman, Avis Criley 
Elderman, who forebodingly insisted on coming into town from 
her suburban home in Darien, Connecticut, and on performing 
the rite of taking them to dinner on Thursday evening. 

"Anyway, we have two friends in the world, Dennis and Avis, 
except for Avis," sighed the lonely Judge Timberlane. 

He had not quite dared telephone to one former Grand Re- 
publican, the only person from their section of Minnesota, aside 
from Salem Volk the veteran liberal politician, who was famous 
to the whole world: Berg Nord, the actor-director-producer- 
dramatist, who had been born on a farm in Radisson County. In 
fact Nord was so distinguished that every citizen back home was 
under a compulsion to inform strangers, "Oh, we don't take Berg 
seriously. We still call him Ice Berg/ He don't try to pull any- 

236 



thing on us, like maybe he does on you folks. We know him too 
well." 

Nord's latest play, Feast of Reason, of which he was author 
and star, had just re-opened for the second year of its run. Back 
home, Cass had airily thought of telephoning to Nord about 
tickets though he would insist on paying for them, of course- 
but now, with the baby-tiger purr of New York outside his win- 
dow, he dared not telephone to Nord at all, but after breakfast 
trotted meekly to the ticket agency, where the learned vendor 
condescendingly let him have two seats. Cass held them with 
pride. . . . He had never seen Berg on the stage, but as a child 
of three, he had ridden pickaback on the shoulders of the 
twenty-three-year-old Cousin Berg Nord. Now he asked of the 
omniscience, "Nord is considered a fine actor in New York, 
isn't he?" 

"Oh, merely the best, after Lunt, that's all!" 

Cass had lost another inch of stature by the time he had re- 
gained the safety of their hotel and Jinny's presence. 



33 



THEY NEVER COULD recall how they had put in the rest of Tuesday 
morning, aside from reading the papers down to the auction 
notices, but they postponed the duty of reveling in the joys of 
New York till lunchtime. Then they had the great hours of 
shopping, and admitted that, in this, New York was superior. 
Jinny dropped the arm of her protector and stepped out and 
had a few things to say for herself. 

She contradicted clerks, high impressive clerks with hand- 
kerchiefs like bishops' mitres in their breast-pockets. She yearned 
over furs and Irish linens and perfume-bottles with gold crowns 
for stoppers and folding card-tables so sturdy that you could sit 
on them the clerk enthusiastically proved it. ( He was fired for 
it, that evening; the table might have collapsed. ) But there was 
a hard shrewdness in her, and she bought only one per cent of the 
things that she would die if she did not have. 

237 



After dozens of tryings-on, while Cass sat on a plush chair in 
rooms carpeted to suffocation and wondered if he might smoke, 
and wished that he had a walking stick to rest his chin on, like 
the other male sitters, she did pick out a silk dress, a blue suit, 
and a lynx jacket. 

Then she dropped again into panic. 

"Cass! Let's beat it! So many shops, so many puss-puss grass- 
widow clerks, trying to stick you with things you don't want 
they all get so blurry and alike. There's no un like there is at 
Harley's or Tarr's, where you know all the scandals about the 
olerks. I love you for bringing me to New York, and I wouldn't 
have missed it for a million dollars, and I wouldn't ever come 
here again for a billion. Oh, I do want to settle down now. I 
promise: I will read my chess manual. I will quit getting my 
queen taken. I promise!" 

He kissed her in the elevator of a department store. 

They assured themselves that though the Melchester dining- 
room did look stuffy, "We better have our dinner here, just this 
once, and not have to hurry to the theater." 

The air of the dining-room had been shut in there, among the 
Brussels sprouts and the damp napkins, ever since the hotel had 
opened, in 1913, and the stuffed veal tasted like the air, and the 
waiter, who was a family man and a commuter, had aching feet. 

They spent most of their time at dinner in longing for the 
gaieties of the John William Prutts, and they went to the play as 
to an operation. 

Cass knew Nord only as a bulky, tow-headed Swede in a 
loose black suit and an irregular bow-tie, lounging around his 
father's farm. Jinny had never seen great acting, and she sup- 
posed that there would be a good deal of yelling and throwing 
up one's arms and catching them again. 

Bewildered, they learned tonight that great theater is more 
real than reality. Nord was the Little Man, a clerk who discovers 
that his boss and his wife and his daughters are all liars, who 
smashes his world and triumphs in defeat. 

Jinny commented only, "Gee!" \ 

Cass said, "I think in these theaters you can 'go back/ 1 think 

238 



they call it, and see the actors in their dressing-rooms, and of 

course I've known Berg slightly all my life I didn't suppose 

he was like that! He's an archangel. I'm glad I saw this with 
you. Well, shall we go back?" 

"I'm scared to, but if you're sure it's all right Course I was 

born only about six miles from his birthplace and maybe I 
didn't tell that to everybody in Florida!" 
"Come on. Perhaps he'll go out with us for a drink." 
"Don't you dare ask him! Prob'ly everybody from Minnesota 
and points west comes in and bothers him. Come on! I don't 
think we ought to go see him, but hurry or we might miss him!" 

It was all traditional and tight: the secret alley beside the 
theater, the stooped and hidden stage door, the doorman aged 
and Irish and misanthropic. 

"To, uh, to see Mr. Nord. Mr. and Mrs. Timberlane," Cass 
submitted. 

"Judge Timberlane," said Jinny. 

But when they were admitted to the star's dressing-room, it 
was such a littered coop, and the star, wiping off greasepaint, 
was just Ole Ice Berg Nord. He looked at Cass a little puzzled. 

"You're one of the Grand Republic Timberlanes, aren't you?" 

"Yes, my mother was Marah Nord. I'm sort of a second cousin 
of yours. I'm a lawyer." 

"Oh, now I have it straight." Nord, a thick, undistinguished 
figure in a blazing silk dressing-gown, was cordial. "Cass isn't 
that the name? Mighty pleased you came back, Cass. Enjoy my 
show?" 

"We thought it was magnificent." Nord was obviously pleased. 
"Berg, this is my wife. Just married last year." 

"Delighted to see you, Mrs. Timberlane. This your first visit 
to New York?" ' 

"Yes, it's my first." 

"You enjoying your visit?" 

"Oh, yes, so much. Well. That is. I don't know as I'd want to 
live here. We're fond of Minnesota." 

"So am I, Mrs. uh Timberlane." 

Jinny must have seen in Cass's pleased and honest faee the 

239 



prohibited come-out-and-have-a-drink look. Firmly taking her 
husband's arm, she stated, 'It's been a great honor to be able to 
visit with you, and we must go now. Good night." 

And went. 

They stopped in the street and shone at each other. 

Cass said proudly, "Nice fellow, isn't he!" 

"Marvelous." 

"Course off the stage, he seems like anybody else." 

"Oh, no, I don't think so! I can feel the tremendous reserved 
power in him. Oh, I could go for him in a big "way !" 

M\T > 

Ye-es. 

"Let's stop and get a drink some place a quiet place, if there 
is one in this town and then go to bed. Oh, Cass, I'm so tired, 
all that shopping but is that plum-colored dress a vision! We 
certainly have one thing to boast of: we didn't try and wheedle 
poor Berg into going out with us." 

"It might have been courteous to have asked him " 

"Oh, no, you can't ask people like that." 

Berg Nord was meditating, "I wish I'd asked those people out 
for a drink or they'd asked me. They made me quite homesick. 
I'd like to hear the Grand Republic news. But they're probably 
busy on their stay here. I wouldn't want to intrude." 

In her own twin bed a little later, talkative and not sleepy, 
Jinny mused aloud, "Think of how brilliantly he must talk when 
he's with his real friends." 

At Sardi's, Berg Nord was saying to his agent, who was one 
of his three close friends, "I don't want to be a hog about it, but 
you tell Hollywood I won't even look at less than two hundred 
thousand. Know what I'm going to do, some day? Move back to 
Minnesota and stay there. You New Yorkers are a pain in the 
neck. Always thinking about money. ... I'll have another 
Scotch old-fashioned/' 

Their lunch, on Wednesday, with Dennis Thane started jubi- 
lantly with recollections of law school, each of which began, 
"Say, do you remember the time I ..." 

Thane was effusive to Jinny. 

240 



"Is this your first visit to New York, Mrs. Tiinberlane?" 

"Yes, it's the first time." 

"Are you enjoying your visit here?" 

"Oh, yes, very much, thank you/' 

But after that the luncheon was less vivacious. 

So they did more shopping and went to museums, thousands 
of museums, and went to a news-reel. 

"Let's take a chance and dine at Twenty-One or the Algon- 
quin or one of those famous places, Jin." 

"Oh, I don't know. They're fascinating, but they scare me, 
Cass. Why don't we just have dinner here at the hotel, where 
they know who we are, and then take in another movie and go 
to bed? There's a bang-up movie opened on Broadway last 
night. I know it's good because it was in Grand Republic two 
weeks ago, and Mrs. Higbee said it was swell. Would that be 
okay by you?" 

"Certainly would. I never care for more than just so much 
horsing around. I thought eight days would be too short a stay 
here, and New York does wake you up and give you a lot of 
ideas, but I'll be kind of glad when we get away next Tuesday. 
I've enjoyed every second of it, but I won't be sorry to be home 
and shoot some golf with Roy." 

"And I'm crazy to see how much the decorators have got 
done. Oh, yes, I'm very glad we're staying till Tuesday, but 
that will be about enough." 

A Thursday filled with trying on dresses, trying on museums 
and churches, and deciding that their feet were too sore to go 
up and look at Grant's tomb and the Rockefeller church, those 
appropriate neighbors. The day was magnificently crowned by 
having dinner with Avis Elderman, Bradd Criley's emigree sister. 

She remembered Cass perfectly, and forgave him for it. 

She had glittering jet on her bosom, and she took them to 
the Colony Restaurant. 

She said to Jinny, "I don't think I ever met you in Grand Re- 
public." 

"No, I lived in Pioneer Falls as a kid." 

"Oh!" 

241 



It took Avis a minute to swallow this, but she tried again: 
"Is this your first glimpse of New York?** 

"Yes, my first." 

"I trust that you are enjoying your stay here." 

"M." 

"Mr. Elderman and I are sony that you are making such a 
brief sojourn. We had hoped to entertain you in our home. In 
Darien. In Connecticut, you know. Though of course we prac- 
tically live in New York City rny husband's office is here, map- 
manufacturing, and I come in and join him for an evening at 
least once a fortnight, but still, we always say, even the city 
hasn't a more exacting and delightful social life than Darien. 
You would enjoy it so much." 

"I'm sure of it," said Jinny. 

As Cass and she went to bed, Jinny snarled, "The very next 
time, I'm going to say, 'No. Is it your first visit?' " 

And, after more meditation, "I thought Bradd was a lovely 
man, till I met his sister." 

When they awoke to devouring rain on Friday morning, Cass 
rejoiced, "Would I be a barbarian if I said, Thank God, we 
don't have to go out and look at the glories of New York all 
day long?" 

"Me too!" 

He thought, he telephoned down to the porter's desk, and 
presently he announced, "I find we can get reservations for the 
trip back home for Monday instead of Tuesday. What would 

y> 

you 

"Darling! Swell! Grab 'em! I'm crazy to see the new house, 
and Cleo and Rose and Valerie and Roy and everybody!" 

They went back to sleep, lying close together, comfortably 
and quietly. They breakfasted luxuriously, for the Melchester 
did unexpectedly run to English muffins and wild-strawberry 
jam. They got rid of the breakfast wreckage, and told the 
chambermaid to stay out till lunch-time. Free from the duties 
of sightseeing, they laughed as pointlessly as schoolchildren. 

Well, if this trip hasn't accomplished anything else, its 

got rid of Jay Laverick, and brought her back to me. 

242 



They were normally a somewhat restrained couple, but today 
they reveled in the cheerful vulgarities of the bathroom. She 
scrubbed his back, in the tub, and laughed, and kissed the wet 
smoothness of his shoulder. He reached up his arms to encircle 
her with a sudden need of her, and her giggling died in a pas- 
sionate quick breathing. 

It was on that day of gaiety and benevolent bad weather that 
their baby was conceived. 

"There couldn't be a more wonderful lover than you," she 
sighed. 

They did admit the chambermaid who looked at them suspi- 
ciouslybut they did not dress till five in the afternoon, when 
the weather had cleared. 

They had a small walk up Fifth Avenue. While they were 
out, Berg Nord tried to telephone them. He had their address 
from Avis Elderman (whom he hated). Nord had hoped to 
have them join him after the theater, but he did not leave his 
name. They never learned that he was a lonely man. 

They came back to the dreariness of having to decide which 
urban delight they would work at that evening. 

The telephone. Cass answered. "Yes? Timberlane speaking." 
Then he shouted. 

"Jinny! Do you know who it is? It's Bradd Criley! He's just 
landed here in New York, and he's right here in the hotel, and 
he'll be up here in five minutes!" 

She sang, "That's the most beautiful thing that ever hap- 
pened to me in my lif el" 

As Bradd came in, like a fresh wind from the Sorshay up- 
lands, Cass thought that Berg Nord might be a sturdy trial 
lawyer, and Bradd, with that wavy hair that provides its own 
vine leaves, that round pale face and automatic smile, might be 
a romantic actor. But he got no further with the study, so ex- 
cited were they all three, two men and a girl, the trinity of 
friendship and of danger. 

"You're the best sight for sore eyes I've seen since we left 
home," said Cass. 

243 



"You two look pretty good to me. What about you, Jin? Are 
you as glad to see me as your old man makes out he is?" 

"My favorite brother, Bradd!" glowed Jinny, and kissed him. 

Bradd summed it up, presently. "You have till Monday then 
tonight and all day Saturday and Sunday? Can't we all play 
around together? I'm here for the Wargates, but I don't have 
to do a thing till Monday morning, except a few telephone calls." 

"Perfect!" said Jinny. 

"I really came on a couple of days early, hoping to catch 
you two." 

"Oh, Bradd, you didn't!" whispered Jinny. 

"What's your plans for tonight?" 

"Not a thing/' 

"Managed to see Life with Father yet?" 

"Impossible to get tickets." 

Bradd crowed, "Not impossible for me to get tickets! It's a 
cinch, if you know the ropes. And I know every strand of the 
little ole ropes in this man's town." 

"Ill bet you do," worshiped Jinny. 

Bradd was already telephoning. "Berbetz? . . . This is 
Criley, from Grand Republic. . . . Fine. Just got in. Now listen, 
my young friend. I want three for Life with Father for tonight, 
and I want good ones, get me? . . . Fine. IT! pick 'em up at 
the box-office. I'll be seeing you." 

Jinny was looking at him with admiration. 

He ordered briskly, "Now I'll run down and have a quick 
shower and be ready in half an hour. Let's have an early dinner 
and have plenty of time to talk. We'll go to the Algonquin or 
the Plaza, and then after the show, I'll take you to Twenty-One 
or the Stork Club. Been to any of those places?" 

Cass sighed, "We tried the Marmoset, but we felt like a 
couple of outsiders." 

"You won't with me. They know me! Ill be seeing you." 

When he was gone, Jinny triumphed, "Now well have a tre- 
mendous time. But 1 adore Bradd, but he is kind of a faker, 

isn't he!" 

"What?" 

"About this hotel being so out of the world. About getting 

244 



these tickets that you can't get. The way he does it, he just pays 
some speculator about three times what they're worth. And 
about being such a sweetheart to all the night-clubs. It's just 
going there often enough, and tipping more than enough. The 
wise guy the great man about town! Why, you're twice as dis- 
tinguished as he is, and you look it!" 

"Oh, now, Jinny, you're dead wrong. He isn't a faker." 

"A show-off, then/' 

"But he isn't! Now, Jinny! I see him in the court room. He 
likes to make a jury laugh, but there isn't a steadier or better- 
prepared advocate in the district, and same way with his ap- 
proach to his friends. He has the heart of a boy, and it pleases 
him so when he can do things for you that he just bubbles over. 
You've got to like Bradd!" 

"Oh, I do, lots. I just meant It irritates me if anybody 

thinks we're hicks just because we don't spend all our time doing 
New York on a Wargate expense-account!" 

"Don't let his fun and high spirits fool you. You'll come to 
love him." 

"Anything for peace," she said. "All right, I'll love him then." 

"Good!" said Cass. 



At the Algonquin, Bradd pointed out one timid drama critic, 
one savage playwright, and two bored actors. Then they settled 
down to the news from Grand Republic. . . . Harley Bozard 
had been seen at Austin with a handsome woman from Minne- 
apolis. Major Umbaugh had been promoted to lieutenant- 
colonel. Jamie Wargate was now a flyer. 

Then Bradd spoke seriously. 

"New York seems to have brought you two even closer to- 
gether. Jin, I'm glad you've got the Jay Laverick nonsense out 
of your system." 

"I never had any in it!" 

"Oh, yes, you did! Jay's an attractive heel, and a good friend 
of mine, but I wouldn't trust him across the street with a deaf 
virgin aged seventy. He does the sympathy racket. Listen, 
young lady: Cass never would jump you properly about Jay, 
because he's a sensitive gent, Cass is, and he's afraid of you. 

245 



Fm not. So just how strongly did Mr. Jay express his ambition 
to make you?" 

Cass was surprised that he was not indignant at this intru- 
sion, and Jinny merely sputtered, "He never expressed any- 
thing of the kind! I wouldn't let him!" 

"You couldn't help letting him. Didn't he ever say anything 
very whimsy and make-believe, the little darling! about you 
and him starting an arty tea-room together he put up the cash 
and you the good taste?" 

"Ye-es, he did make some cracks about my talent for water- 
cress/' 

"That's his standard line. I know you have too much sense to 
fall for him really, but still, you did let him stick around, and 
you better cut him out and cleave only to the dumb bread- 
winners like the Judge and me. We won't let you down. Now 
you can tell me how I've been butting in." 

'Well, you have! And I won't be bullied!" 

"Tut!" 

"Ill fall for whom I like. I'm a free woman." 

"Taat's what you think." 

"Oh, you make me tired," she said, so feebly that Cass and 
Bradd smiled at each other, and presently she was smiling with 
them. 

If Cass found it too breathless, Jinny was exhilarated by the 
different New York that Bradd disclosed to them. He took them 
to three night-clubs, in which he was cordially greeted by, if 
not with, fatted calves, and on top of that, he injected them, 
at one o'clock in the morning, into a pent-house party being 
given by a man who, Bradd explained, was a very important, 
high-class man, with a lot of influence in Washington, the rep- 
resentative of a chain of Western banks. 

Jinny decided that, after all, she had been born to pent-house 
life; to the glass bar and the Dali drawings and the couch long 
enough to seat eight people, to the garden outside and the ner- 
vous lights in the skyscrapers that formed its mountainous 
horizon; born to the attentions of gallantly drunken gentlemen. 

Thousands of men were telling Jinny that she was beautiful; 

246 



thousands and tens of thousands of ageless women were shriek- 
ing that she must have another drink immediately, till the coils 
of people inside the pent-house seemed thicker and darker 
than the coils of cigarette-smoke. Suddenly even the gregarious 
Jinny could not endure the blare of voices, and she slipped out 
on the terrace. 

So she beheld a New York new-born and celestial. 

She was astonished to come out not to a light-pointed dark- 
ness but to the rising sun. Four hours had gone in four minutes. 

The pent-house was thirty stories up, on an apartment-house 
on Central Park West, looking eastward to Fifth Avenue and 
the park. To the northeast, incomprehensible waterways led 
through a golden mist to the open sea of Long Island Sound, and 
over them the bridges arched and vanished in a smudge of 
factories and airfields. The bulky castles of Fifth Avenue and 
beyond seemed but a narrow strip of gold-touched black float- 
ing upon the waters, and for a moment the ponderous city was 
as graceful as Venice. 

To southward a thousand towers reached toward the sun, 
while just at her feet, far down, Central Park was still a dawn- 
dark labyrinth, with the reservoir like one of her own Northern 
lakes. 

At her shoulder, Bradd's voice murmured, "New York can be 
beautiful, eh? It's London and Paris and San Francisco all in 
one." 

"Yes, I didn't know how beautiful till you showed it to me, 
Bradd. I was scared of it, but I think I could love it." 

He kissed her, and in gratitude she responded recklessly. 

Bradd drew back. "We didn't mean that! It was just an acci- 
dental salute to the sun. Don't you ever tell that priggish Grand 
Republic lawyer about it." 

"Cass is not a prig " 

"I didn't mean him. I meant that what's his name? 

Bradd Criley? The fellow who thinks you're his sister. Are you?" 

"Yes!" 

Elbows on the parapet, they were talking quietly when Cass 
came out to find them. He was pleased when he saw their fresh, 
dawn-cooled faces. 

247 



"You two are the only people here that look as if youVe ever 
slept, but as it's tomorrow now, how about thinking of going 
home?" he chuckled. 

"Fine!" said the artless Bradd. 

On Saturday and Sunday, Bradd was the most conscientious 
pleasure-giver since Dennis the hangman. He took them to two 
theaters, for a drive in a victoria in Central Park. On Sixth 
Avenue he bought a dozen of the marzipan cakes that Jinny 
loved even more than candy, and they three walked down the 
street boldly eating them out of a paper bag. Sunday, they drove 
to Jones Beach and on to a restaurant with tables on the terrace. 

By now, Jinny considered New York just as good as Grand 
Republic. But not Cass. 

Bradd paid his share of all the bills, but he did not show off 
by trying to pay more. In all their arguments he took Cass's side 
against Jinny or Jinny's side against Cass, with equal cheerful- 
ness. And he bought for her the first orchid of which she was 
ever the proprietor. 

She confided to Cass, "You were entirely right about Bradd. 
He wasn't trying to impress us about how well he knows New 
York. He just has a lot of fun exploring it, and he loves to have 
his friends share it." 

When Bradd had seen them off on the train, on Monday, Cass 
said to her, "Now you really begin to appreciate Bradd." 

"Yes thanks to you." 

They returned to Grand Republic; they moved into the new 
house; the fall term of court opened; and the first case over 
which Cass presided was the divorce-suit of Beecher Filligan 
against his wife Pasadena, with Mr. Jay Laverick warmly re- 
ferred to in the testimony. 



248 



An Assemblage of Husbands and Wives 

FILLIGAN VS. LAVERICK 

FHXIGAN had only a minority share in the ownership 
of Havock & Filligan, contractors, but he also played at archi- 
tecture and he had inherited a brickyard and a cement works. 
In the peerage of Grand Republic he rated as a viscount, with 
the highest distinction in the playing of backgammon. He was 
forty, and a friend of Bradd Criley and Jay Laverick. 

His wife Pasadena, born in that Oxford of the Pacific Coast, 
was probably beautiful. She looked like a poor color-reproduc- 
tion of a Botticelli goddess of rather late spring. She was deriva- 
tive in everything except her make-up, in which she showed 
talent, care, and diligence. 

Beecher was sick of her, sick of her mildly clattering tongue, 
her extravagance, and her monotony in bed. He wanted to get 
rid of her, and since he had no legal reasons, he set about creat- 
ing them. 

He knew that, despite her cow-like amiability when she had 
everything she wanted, she could be shrill and stubborn if she 
thought she w.as being cheated, so the fault had to be seemingly 
hers, and his the forgiveness or the vengeance. 

Jay Laverick took notice of every halfway-pretty woman who 
seemed obtainable, and Beecher saw to it that Pasadena should 
appear extremely obtainable. 

She was a Talking Woman, and like most Talking Women she 
was too busy babbling to notice what was happening about 
her. Her telephone calls, to announce that she would come and 
play bridge next Thursday, took half an hour. By going out to 
the kitchen and being orally helpful, she could get any cook to 
quit during the first fortnight, and Beecher usually went to sleep 
to her inane discussion of something that would have happened 
if it had only happened. 

Beecher was not utterly to be blamed for his cold plotting 
against her. His plan had started one evening when, after he had 
complained absently about her extravagance and her astonish- 
ing tendency to get accidentally kissed at country-club dauces, 

49 



2 



she had sneered, "Well, if I'm so lousy, why don't you do some- 
thing, and not just yap about it?" 

Not till two years later, when she was already married to the 
reluctant Jay Laverick, did she realize that Beecher had done 
something. 

Beecher, in the oldest and simplest of tricks, began his work 
by having Jay at the house for three-handed rummy and being 
called out to the cement works at ten P.M., then telephoning at 
eleven that he would not be able to return till two. Venus and 
Freud did the rest. 

Beecher's careful labor was almost ruined by Jay's getting 
interested in a much prettier and livelier woman, young Jinny 
Timberlane, so he had Jay for house-guest at his summer camp 
on Lake Winnemapaug, was called away "for two days," and 
returned late that same night. He despised Jay for an amateur 
Don Juan when he found them both in her bed, and asleep. 

He said to Jay, 1 ought to kill you, and I do happen to have a 
loaded rifle here, but I think the only decent, civilized way out 
of this horrible mess that you two have dragged me into is for 
you to marry her as soon as I divorce her/' 

Jay said, Why certainly; that's what he had intended to do, 
all along. 

Pasadena, with her rouge smeared, was very distasteful to 
Jay. 

Later, in chambers, Pasadena reported to Judge Timberlane, 
"Beecher practically cried over all that he had tried to do for 
me, and I just despised him. After that, I was sure I wanted to 
marry Jay, who is a real man, not a whiner. But I will say for 
Beecher that he did manage to make me feel like considerable 
of a heel." 

She was distasteful to Judge Timberlane in any state of 
make-up. He said, "But, Pas, any husband must sense it at once 
if his wife even begins to stray, and what I don't understand is 
how either you or your husband could be taken in by such an 
obvious wolf as Laverick." 

"Don't you dare say anything against Jay! He's a gentleman, 
even when he's drunk, and he's going to marry me." 

He was, and he did. 

250 



34 



THE TIMBEBLANES had been married for a year now, and they 
were fondly accustomed to the new house, to the gray furniture 
and mulberry carpets and curtains, the yellow leather pouf, the 
fireplace set flush in mirrors, in the pert living-room, as arranged 
by Jinny. Isis was presumably happy on a teakwood pedestal 
on a small glass shelf. The pictures were mostly nameless flower 
pieces; there were tall portfolios of Impressionist painters; and 
on a small flat desk were Jinny's precious tooled-leather stamp- 
box and a useless yellow quill pen. It was all very gay and 
comfortable and contemporary, even if it was a little like a 
model room in an expensive furniture store. 

Cass thought highly of the oil furnace and the electric wash- 
ing-machine, though he was not altogether contented in his new 
study. It was a cigar-box of a room, handsomely paneled, with 
a small fireplace reluctantly let into the pine walls, but there 
was room for only a quarter of his books, and the rest were lost 
in dark hallway-bookcases and the pinched attic. 

"Oh, well, most of 'em I only look at once in a while, anyway/' 
he sighed, as he lugged them to the attic. Strange that so few 
books can require so many staggering struggles up the ill- 
lighted stairs. 

Jinny was joyfully busy. Now that she could organize her own 
house, and Mrs. Higbee could no longer hide spices and 
Canadian bacon and corn-flour from her in cavernous unknown 
cupboards, she was an exemplary housewife, busy with errands 
to the new Byzantine meat-market and the new Cordovan 
grocery-store, which made up the business-center of the Coun- 
try Club District. She went on entertaining soldiers at the can- 
teen, and once she stood on the running-board of a car on 
Chippewa Avenue and made a speech for the sale of war bonds. 

"No," said Cass, afterward, "no, you were a very good speaker. 
I wish most lawyers would sum up as clearly as you did. Sweet- 
heart, you're beating me at oratory as you do at everything else. 
Except maybe chess." 

251 



She was unquestionably beating him at one thing. She was 
pregnant. 

lie was delighted. 

It was she who insisted that they must be economical, after 
the New York journey and buying the new house, now that 
Owen or Emily was coming. 

She had picked out this choice of names for the baby, with- 
out discussion. She explained it to Cass: 

"I'm glad about the infant. I feel like looking up at you as 
languishingly as any Dickens heroine. This is real creation. I 
guess a baby is about the most modern and revolutionary thing 
a girl can do. I intend to be a wonderful mother. I know that 
if it's a boy, he'll be as sturdy and honest as you are, as your 
father must have been, so I want him to be 'Owen/ after your 
father. And if it's a girl I had an Aunt Emily so gentle, but 
awful smart. 

"I did think, 'way back six months ago, when I was young, 
that Fd like to have a daughter named 'Lark/ I knew it was 
kind of a fancy name, but I want her to be what I always wanted 
to be arid never could swift and clean and belonging to the 
upper air., not touched with earth. Wait, wait now! Don't tell me 
a lark has to come down and sleep on the earth after it's got 
done soloing. I guess an expectant mother has a right to her 
t>\\ n metaphor, hasn't she? 

"But then I got to thinking about what her classmates would 
do to the kid, with a name like that, so I said to her, 'All right, 
you Ye going to be a sweet, simple Emily, and like it!' 

"Cass, I am going to adore that baby!" 

Cass said to Roy Drover, "She's so sort of serene and ad- 
justed now/' 

Roy Drover said to Cass, "You mean she's got some of the 
damn nonsense knocked out of her by morning sickness." 

Bradd Criley said to Cass, in Jinny's active presence, "Our girl 
is more lovely than ever now. How I envy you two!" 

Chris Grau said to Jinny, with Cass philanthropically listen- 
ing, "How I enw vou, dear! Did you ever know that once I 

252 



thought I was a little in love with your dear husband, myself? 
Oh, Jinny, you must give him a lovely baby/' 

Mrs. John William Prutt said to Mr. John William Prutt who, 
in a gray flannel union-suit, was sitting on the floor, cutting his 
long pale toenails, "It is perhaps my imagination, but I cannot 
help feeling that it may have been our influence as" their former 
neighbors that has changed Mrs. Timberlane from a really quite 
scatterbrained and, I might almost venture to suggest, flirtatious 
young woman into an apparently responsible young Grand Re- 
public matron." 

Boone Havock, the distinguished ex-saloon-bouncer, .sxid to 
Judge Blackstaff, at the Federal Club, "Cass must of gorn? plumb 
crazy. Probably from working too hard at loving that hot little 
wife of his. Not that it's her fault, poor kid. I thought at fust 
that she was from the wrong side of the railroad tracks, but she 
seems to have settled down to being a nice little lady and a good 
war worker. But Cass why, I hear where, right in this classy 
new house of his, he entertained this flannel-mouthed Vogel, the 
county agricultural agent, that's a Farmer-Laborite and prac- 
tically an under-cover gumshoer for the co-operatives that want 
to ruin every decent business that we've given our lives to 
building up." 

"Oh, no, no, Boone," insisted Judge Blackstaff. "I find Judge 
Timberlane a sound and loyal colleague. I think it's just that his 
wife after all, she is young, and she probably enjoys experi- 
mentation and wants to meet all these cranks and freaks and 
reds and fanatics, just to see what they're like. Once she has 
had her baby, she'll settle down and be just like your wife and 
mine." 



"I certainly hope so," said Boone. 

For Eino Roskinen, who was serving somewhere iii the 
Pacific, Cass and Jinny packed a Christmas box: fruit cake, 
candy, cigarettes, and a thin-paper edition of Farewell to Arms. 

"We do so little and he does so much. I feel we ought to both 
be out there with him," fretted Cass. Tin going to kiss you for 
him" That kiss was strange and disembodied, as though it were 
indeed the caress of a spirit. 

253 



On this, their second Christmas together, everybody decided 
that the Little Mother as they all called her, to Jinny's fury- 
ought to stay home and be visited and relentlessly loved and 
cherished, and they all did it: the Drovers, Havocks, Blackstaffs, 
Flaatens, Gadds, and an alternately shrieking and hush-hushing 
gang of half a dozen more families, while for Christmas dinner, 
with much holly and silver, there were Bradd, Chris, Cleo, and 
the three Pennlosses. George Hame diffidently brought in a pair 
of woolly mittens, embroidered for Jinny by his daughter Betty, 
and a family whose son they believed Judge Timberlane to havr 
saved from prison sent a goose from Four Mile Pine. 

Jinny announced that she was now domesticated and content 
edly settled for her whole future life. 

Drowsy with Christmas turkey and claret, Cass and Jinny and 
Bradd, the others gone, hunched down in their deep chairs. 
Every five minutes one of them said, "We ought to take a good 
brisk walk." Busy as a squirrel, Jinny ate a chocolate, sipped 
Benedictine, gulped a glass of water. She complained, "I have 
the most awful thirst." 

"Of course, you baby, eating all that sweet stuff," yawned 
Bradd. 

"Let's see if we can catch the Philharmonic on the radio and 
then go out and take a good brisk walk," said Cass. 

But first on Station KICH came the war-news bulletins, to 
which they listened with the indifference into which civilians 
fall. But they sat up as they heard a bulletin: 

"I have to announce the sad news that another of our boys 
has given his life that democracy may live. One of our fine 
young men, an expert on dairying processes, Eino Roskinen, 
was killed in an airplane crash somewhere in the Pacific on 
Christmas Eve/' 

Bradd said quite cheerfully, "Didn't you know him, Jin?" 

She gasped, and they half heard her groan, "I hardly let him 
kiss me. I wish to*God I had!" 

Bradd stirred with electrified interest. Cass was filled with 
pity. He went over to touch her hair, muttering, "A brave boy." 
He felt struggling far down in him the rebellious thought, "How 

254 



do I know I wouldn't have been just as brave, if it had been my 
job to fight?" But the thought never came to the surface, as she 
mourned, cheek against his sleeve: 

"We never think that death can come near us. But I feel as 
if it were in the room now." 

In the silence, they breathed uncomfortably. They could hear 
the cat as it leaped from a cupboard toward the mantelpiece. 
It almost missed and, clawing, upset the bracket on which was 
Isis, who toppled from her little teak standard and fell to the 
tiled hearth, with a tiny noise of breaking. Jinny hastened across 
the room and picked up the crystal cat-goddess. One of its 
miniscule legs was broken clean off, and Jinny held it out for 
Cass to see, sobbing like a bewildered child. 



35 



CASS HAD INTENDED to keep their life from falling into a pros- 
perous-middle-class routine which would bore Jinny as it bored 
his sister Rose, but now, he felt, "just for a while, a Certain 
Amount of Routine will protect her." 

He was correct in calculating that their routine did add up 
to at least a Certain Amount. 

The routine of his court room, workmanlike and busy, and 
the routine of his return home, the welcoming kiss, the "What 
you been doing all day?", news on the radio and reading some- 
times aloud of the Banner editorials, the game of chess, the 
game of dominoes, the game of gin-rummy. 

The routine of bedtime and Cass's "Golly, I didn't know it 
was so late guess it's about time to turn in," and in the morning, 
"Almost eight o'clock time to rise and shine." 

The routine of food: steak, chicken, veal chops, corned beef, 
pork chops, fried pike, steak; and of reports about the weather. 
The routine discussion of shall we have soup? He was pro-soup, 
and she was anti. 

The routine of dining with the Pennlosses every Sunday noon. 

The routine of love-making, which became a routine and not 

255 



a storm as soon as they wondered how much longer it was safe to 
continue it. 

But he knew that Jinny was no amateur of such regularity, 
and he pondered upon the production of mild and antiseptic 
amusements. The best of these seemed to be the encouragement 
f the Pennlosses and Bradd and Chris to come in whenever 
they could. Somehow, the busy Bradd was able to "drop in" 
much oftener than the others. 

He was such a safe, comfortable, cheerful friend to have 
about. He was ready to play cards, to talk, to* listen, to pat Cleo, 
to admire Jinny's knitting and Cass's legal opinions, to tease 
Jinny when she was petulant and Cass when he was irritable, 
and to bring ice in for the highballs from the kitchen re- 
frigerator. Bradd was a singularly neat remover of ice-cubes, 
refiller of ice-trays, and wiper of highball glasses, and he agreed 
with jinny on the necessity of using, always, the Chinese brass 
coasters under the glasses, to protect the tables. 

It was Bradd who affably took charge on the evening when 
Jay Laverick came in to show off his new wife, Pasadena, and 
was drunk enough to hint that there had been other ladies, quite 
recently, who had craved his competent affections. 

So Bradd became the tertium quid in the household: Cass's 
friend and admirer, Mrs. Higbee's admirer and beau, Cleo's 
teacher of protocol, and Jinny's brother. He was a combination 
of grandfather, son, investment-counsel, assistant judge, trained 
nurse, thoughtful patron, and pet dog. 

Cass did not realize surely Bradd could not have realized 
just how often he was there. 

Cass would have said that Chris Grau appeared just as often, 
because when Chris did come, you noticed it. In forty-five min- 
utes she would change from Cass's thwarted sweetheart to pro- 
tector of Jinny against Cass's gross passions to sweater-knitting 
friend. 

Bradd also read aloud from a very imaginative little manual 
of psycho-analysis. He kept begging Jinny not to be shocked 
by these cases from real life. 

She was not shocked. She was interested. 

It was a comfort to Cass that on evenings when he had to 

256 



go out speech-making, to the Masons or the Montenegrins or 
the Mensheviks, he could count on Bradd to entertain Jinny at 
home or take her to the movies. Occasionally, when Cass was 
kept late in his chambers and Bradd felt that poor Jinny might 
be dull, he drove her down to the Unstable for a drink before 
dinner. 

This, however, seemed to Cass unnecessary. 

They had a serene evening, Cass and Jinny alone, discussing 
the future of Owen-Emily. 

"It excites me and it scares me," said Cass. "He she will be 
able to fly from Grand Republic to London in eight hours, and 
he may see the whole world one state, or see it an anarchy starv- 
ing in caves." 

"Well, before he starts revolutionizing the world," mused 
Jinny tenderly, "I'm going to see he's a good swimmer and tennis 
player, and says 'Thank you, Mother' nicely." 

"Reactionary!" 

They were cheerful then, but when Cass came home the 
next evening, he found a Jinny irritable as a cat-haunted robin. 

"Why, what's the trouble, dear sweet?" he bumbled. 

"Don't be so disgustingly forgiving and paternal!" 

"All right, I'll be unforgiving. Go on." 

"Oh, it's just 1 went out to the Unstable for lunch with 

Gillian Brown. She had an idea I might do some sketches for 
their fashion show at the Beaux Arts. And maybe I will, too. 

And 1 hadn't meant to take a drink, but I felt so blue, shut 

in here all the time " 

"You aren't!" 

"Yes I am too! I don't know as it can be helped, but I am. 
And I had this mean thirst that's been bothering me lately 
I suppose that's pregnancy, too and so I had a highball, and I 
felt better. And Bradd just happened to drop in, and he came 
over and joined us, and he felt like taking the afternoon off, 
and so he and Gillian decided they'd go to Alimony Hall and 
get drunk, and they asked me would I like to come along, and 
I said, Yes, I certainly would " 

"You know '" 

257 



"Oh, yes, yes, yes, I know exactly what you think of Alimony 
Hall and Sabine Grossenwahn, but there isn't any law in the 
Constitution, is there, that I have to accept all your opinions? 
Sabine is amusing, and if she sleeps with everybody in town 
except you I hope that isn't any of our business, is it?" 

"I rather think " 

"Oh, don't talk like John William Prutt! Like Mrs. Prutt! Like 
the whole world of Prutteryl That's how they felt about us, 
one time. Sometimes often you're just as priggish as the Prutts. 
I much prefer a roughneck realist like Boone"Havock. Or Sabine! 
But anyway: I wanted to go, but I knew you and Roy would 
have a fit, so I said, No, I wouldn't. And so Bradd and Gilliaa 
kidded the life out of me for being such a Puritan, and I think 
they were right, too; I think I'd of felt a lot better if I had gone 
and lapped up a lot of Sabine's Miracle Mash- Bourbon. Roy is 
crazy. He's just an old woman like all obstetricians and he 
isn't even that he's a surgeon. By golly, if there were one in 
town, I'd get me a nice sympathetic young obstetrician that 
would prescribe hell-raising! Now go on. Be horrified. I guess 
it's very choice and high-class to have a husband that can quote 
Milton and Veblen, but I get awful tired of living in a diving- 
bell. So now you can be horrified all you want to!" 

"But I'm not, and as soon as Owen comes " 

"Emily!" 

"Emily, then. Then 111 go to Sabine's with you." 

If indeed he was "horrified," it was only that the trusty Bradd 
should have been willing to take her to that amateur brothel. 
Then: 

Oh, sure. I've got it. He didn't want her to go at all, and 

he just pretended he did to gentle her down. Still, I would like 
to ask Bradd what he really said. 

But, worried over Jinny, worried by the war news, he forgot 
to ask, 

He reached home before Jinny, that evening in early March. 
He sat in one of the detestably neat gray-leather chairs, bend- 
ing his newspaper. He heard her at the door. She did not halt 
to take off her furs; she was in the doorway, her hands flat 

258 



against either side of the frame, her face wincing, no youthful 
wife but a frightened woman. 

lie sprang up. 

"Cass! I'm sick, I'm really sick, and it isn't just pregnancy. 
I may die." 

He held her arms, wet with melting snow. 

"I've just been to Roy for my examination. Cass, I have dia- 
betes!" 

"Oh, no!" 

"Yes. And I could die from it." 

"It's not serious, Jinny; it couldn't be!" 

"Not too serious, Roy says. I don't even need insulin, not yet 
anyway, he says; just proper diet and take care of myself. But 
could anything be worse than taking care of yourself all the time, 
like an invalid?" 

"I'll do it for you." 

"You will, O God, how you'll take care of me! It'll be worse 
than dying. Wrapped in cotton, all night, all day and expected 
to be grateful!" 

"Now, now! Let's get your coat off. Here, let me rub your 
hands. Lord, they're cold! There, there " 

"Now, now, now! There, there, there!" she mocked him. 
"Sweet, sweet chick! Enjoy your beddie-weddie all day long! 
You and Roy will have me as sappy as Juliet Zago in a month!" 

He had sense enough to ignore her sputtering. A girl had the 
right to be a little testy at the threat of death! He yelled out to 
Mrs. Higbee to delay dinner fifteen minutes, and to bring two 
martinis, quick. He got Jinny settled on the couch, with Cleo 
soft between them, and demanded, "Now tell me" exactly." 

"Maybe it isn't too bad. Roy says it's diabetes, all right, but 
very mild says if I just have a little common sense but of 
course that's like saying, If you just have the genius of Bee- 
thoven,' and if I take care of myself, I could live to be ninety 
and scarcely know I had the thing. . . . And be just as good- 
looking! I mean you know not ugly, I mean . . . But doesn't 
it sound coarse. Diabetes! Sugar in the urine! Aah! Why can't I 
die of something romantic, like Camille or Mary, Queen of 
Scots? Diabetesl" 

259 



"Call it 'diabetes mellitus/ then. That sounds fancier." 

"So it does. Oh, I do feel better, now I've told you, and I know 
it will be wonderful, the way you'll take care of me. I'm not 
really ungrateful. I'm just blaming on you the faulty action of 
my Islands of Langerhans, blast 'em! I have some nerve back 
now. I will live to be ninety and you'll be a hundred and four 
and still trying to get me to eat less candy and I'll crab all the 
time, and love you for it!" 

But she was frightened. It quavered in .all her flippancies, 
and he concentrated on her fear, not on his own below-zero 
terror that she might die and all his own life die with her. 

As she hastily drank the cocktail he had ordered, he mused, 
"I suppose Roy has forbidden all alcohol." 

"Yes, this drink is my last. Say, how did you ever get as 
gloomy a friend and physician as Roy? He doesn't even enjoy 
seeing his patients die when they disobey him. Yeh, no alcohol, 
no candy, no cake, very little meat. He wants to keep me alive 
only technically. His theory is that it's better to be alive and 
miserable than dead and happy. Not even one tender, confiding 
little cocktail." 

"Well, this evening I'll also give you one stiff highball, and 
starting tomorrow morning, we'll both of us go on the water- 
wagon, absolutely. Both of us. You realize that?" 

"O God, yes, I realize it. When the Judge raises his voice 
like that, the boys run right out and get the rope." 

"Darling, it won't be so bad. We'll have lots of pleasant sub- 
stitutes for sweets and booze." 

"As how? Chess?" 

"No, we'll think of a lot of things." 

"Always ending with chess!" 

"Now don't be so contrary." 

"A girl that's going to die has got a right to be contrary." 

"She certainly hasn't any right to say lias got' for lias,' and 
if she claims all her rights and has a husband like me, who's 
too weakly adoring to spank her and put her to bed, she's in 
danger of having him become devious and control her by sly- 
ness instead of by healthy bullying. You can't win, now that 

260 



I've started to take care of you, and I want no more pretty 
nonsense out of you." 

"Gee, at that, you may be a better wife-manager than I 
thought/' 

"I may. And by the way You spoke of my court attendants 

running for a rope. You know, don't you, that actually there is 
no capital punishment in the State of Minnesota? What are 
you smiling at, dear? Have I said something naive?" 

During dinner, she was cheerful, and in her old voice of 
affectionate derision she read the regimen that Dr. Drover had 
given to her. 

"Avoid woriy. . . . Doesn't say how; just avoid it yon know 
ole worry come, throw it out of the window. Gee, the wonders 
of medical science. . . . Warm clothes. . . . Drop in at some 
lumberjack store tomorrow and buy me a nice red-flannel union 
suit, will you? Thatll keep all the men away, and so I'll also 
avoid one of the worries, anyway. . . . Warm baths. Mm. 
Massage. . . . That depends on the masseur. Do you know any 
handsome young gentlemen masseurs? They could be blind. I 
still think Jay Laverick would make a fine, conscientious mas- 
seur, but I never could get a meeting of minds with you on that 
topic. . . . Diet. . . . Me on a diet! Me that in my prime tossed 
in banana splits and pickled pig's feet at the same orgy. . . . 
Saccharine for sugar. . . . Cereals. . . . Leafy vegetables. . . . 
How I do hate leafy vegetables the leafier the nastier, I always 
say. I hate to get my teeth into a mess of leaves. . . . Beans, 
broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, endive, okraokra! squash, 
tomatoes, turnip-tops, watercress I ask you! Cojjld anything 
sound more loathsome? Just make sure that I stick to that diet 
for two months, and I'll run away with Boone Havock and go 
reeling down State Street with the fumes of two steaks and a 
mutton chop rising to my befuddled brain. . . . Oh, darling, 
can you stand making me stand it?" 

"Sure!" 



AT THE END of dinner he coaxed, "Now I want you to skip right 
up and get into bed, and I'll come up and talk to you, and we'll 
play a good game ofof dominoes." 

"Now you look here! I do not intend to start being an in- 
valid, in bed all the time. I'd rather die first! Roy didn't 
say " 

"No, no, just tonight. You're overwrought. So am I, for that 
matter. I'll talk to Roy about it, but I presume that ordinarily 
you'll be able to stay up till ten-thirty or eleven every evening 
maybe till midnight, after Baby comes." 

"No, tonight especially not. If I relaxed, I'd be too scared." 

"Tell you what I'll do. I'll get some lively soul to come in and 
gossip and cheer us both up. I'll get Bradd! Hell have to know, 
sooner-later, anyway." 

"Yes, you phone him, and I'll put on my most languorous 
nightgown and receive all you boys in bed. Like a queen. . . . 
Oh, Cass, I was going to be such a good, strong wife, and I'm 
just a sick, whining child, to bother you." 

She sobbed, head against his substantial shoulder, for a long 
time. When she went up the stairs, still whimpering softly, 
he looked up after her, and her climbing was that of a naughty 
child who has been punished. 

He did not tell her afterward, but when he telephoned he did 
not find it easy to capture Bradd. He had to drag him out of a 
poker game. Bradd sounded not too willing, and Cass insisted 
that Jinny was ill and really needed the skillful cheering of the 
man-about-town. 

When he went up to sit awkwardly by her bed, in the new 
gray-and-pink chamber, he reflected that Bradd had never seen 
her here, and he regretted having invited even his old friend 
into the sanctuary. She was miraculously feminine tonight; the 
baby was going to be tiny, and she was scarce swollen; there was 
no hint of it as she sat up in bed, huddled under the pink silk 
coverlet. Her throat was fair above sinful laces and ribbons, her 

262 



hair was softly shaken out, her cheeks were flushed, by nature 
as well as art. 

Um. That was a mistake. But too late now to stop Bradd. 

. . . And she really does need some clown like him, tonight. . . . 
My lovely, warm, terrified girl. 

He fumbled, "Before Bradd comes, there's one slightly em- 
barrassing thing I don't know whether Roy spoke of it or not, 
but I wonder and of course we have to think of your health 
beyond any other consideration " 

"You dear old lady! You wouldn't be chastely referring to 
sleeping together, would you?" 

"Why, Jinny!" 

"I could use still more lucid expressions." 

"Stop riding me, sweet. I can't help it if I'm shy with you 
call it reverent. There are a dozen or so words that Roy and I 
used to exchange freely, at the age of twelve. I do know them 
you'd be surprised! But I honestly don't like to use 'em in your 
presence." 

"Didn't Bradd use 'em, too?" 

"Not much. He was a foully clean-minded little beast then." 

"Poor, innocent Bradd!" 

"I'd like to get back to our investigation. What did Roy say?" 

"He said, situation normal for six weeks or so, and then we'll 
have to be as chaste as my crystal cat." 

They looked at each other so confidingly. 

Their old friend Bradd had never been more admirable. 

He came in casually; he lightly patted Cass's shoulder; he 
kissed Jinny's cheek not overly glancing, Cass noted, at her 
bosom beneath the foam of nightgown; he sat down and took 
charge of their muted terror. 

"I had a hunch something was wrong, when you called me, 
Cass, so I phoned Roy, and he says Jin has a very mild case of 
diabetes, nothing to worry over. Jinny, sweet, our chief job is 
the agreeable one of keeping you gay as a gopher. Now of course 
all these docs, even a hardboiled one like Roy, croak about 
avoiding all alcohol and sweets, and any mental flings more dis- 

263 



turbing than buying moth-balls. They exaggerate, because they 
hope to get half of what they order like a dealer telling you 
to keep a new car down to thirty. If they tell a patient to cut 
out alcohol, what they expect is that the dope will cut the in- 
take down to a pint of mule every six hours, with just a dash 
of canned heat. 

"The great thing in curing any of these chronic diseases is 
mental, so if Cass and you and I have just a couple of drinks 
and sit around and laugh like fools, that'll be more sensible 
than acting like a dyspeptic killjoy. How about it?" 

"Oh, I'm sure you're right, Bradd," rejoiced Jinny. Til be 
careful, but not get sour and Pruttish." 

"Look, you two!" protested Cass. 

"Consider it said, sweetie," purred Jinny. "You mean that the 
orthodox method of not drinking any alcohol whatever is not 
to drink any alcohol. We young revolutionists don't fall for that 
any longer. And, Cass, you said I could have anotjier drink, after 
dinner." 

"Did 1? Well, I think you're getting along fine without it, 
so let's stick to that." 

Bradd and Jinny looked with humorous exasperation at this 
husbandly spoil-sport, but he was firm. 

She refused to have a nurse, but she did, with omissions, 
"take care of herself." To her the omissions were a joke, a game 
of thwarting Cass and his co-plotter, Dr. Drover. 

To Cass, nothing of all this was a joke. The shock of com- 
prehending her danger was a delayed contusion, and not till 
next day did he quite take in the special fact of her illness. 
Then, ah 1 day, on the bench, he was taut and shaky. 

He was agonizingly aware that she might die. When he 
passed a cemetery, cold under March snow, when he heard of 
the death of another soldier from home, he starkly saw her then, 
unmoving in a coffin, not to move and speak to him again, ever. 

He had never rented Bergheim, and now he refused an offer. 
He heard himself saying, "If she died, I would take Cleo and 
Mrs. Higbee and crawl back to the old place." 

264 



His most desperate effort was to keep from seeming des- 
perate. 

Jinny did not often leave the house, as April came roughly 
in, promising May. She drove into the country sometimes with 
Cass or, if he was held in court till evening, with Rose or the 
Wolkes, but mostly she clung to the house, like the frightened 
cat with whom Cass was always identifying her now. 

Every night she conscientiously tended her feet, stooped 
over them, bathing and rubbing eveiy tiniest crease or abra- 
sion, while Cass watched her pitifully. 

She recited hopefully, "Roy says the great Dr. Joslin says 
every diabetic ought to have a dog, because a dog never tempts 
you to break your diet or embarrasses you by being too sorry 
for you, like your friends. Well,' I said to Roy, 'my cat is just 
as good as a dog that way, isn't she?' and he said, very stiff, 
'Joslin doesn't say anything about cats just dogs/ 

"And Roy does lay such stress on the grapefruit. He figures a 
grapefruit is the diabetic's best friend next to his dog, of course! 
I got to eat grapefruit and like it that horrible, fat, smug, sickly- 
yellow lump! 

"And Roy says there's no danger Emily will transmit the 
tendency to diabetes or Owen either if there's none of it in 
your family, and he says there isn't any. Poor Emily! To start 
off with a mother that hasn't got one doggone thing but love for 
her no strength and no candy and not much sense. You've got 
to have sense for both of us, Cass. 

"There. If Dr. Joslin himself came right in this room now and 
looked at those feet, he'd say, 'J mn y> I never saw a* slicker job of 
pedicuring. You're a good girl, Jinny for a blasted diabetic!' " 

"No! A blessed diabetic." 

"Oh, yes. And Roy said Joslin said Clemenceau and Edison 
were both diabetics, and they carried on like sons-of-guns with 
it." 

"So will you." 

"But you don't think it will make me reactionary like them ; 
do you?" 

"I don't think it will make you anything but Jinny." 

265 



"Which is rapidly being accepted by all lexicographers as a 
^ymptom for perfection, you mean?" 
He wanted to cry. 

Sometimes she was little and bewildered and clung to Cass 
and wanted to be obedient to Dr. Drover's orders. Sometimes 
she was irritated by the unreasonableness of being ill and turned 
to Bradd, who chirped, "Cheer up, baby; I'm sure you behave 
a lot better than His Honor says." 

Cass was supposed to be pleased when Bradd could inspire 
her to a flippant lightness, but he wondered if they did not 
depend too much on Bradd's friendly presence. Then, in May, 
the duty of being comic in the sickroom was shared by a dis- 
charged Marine that radio-artistic Fred Nimbus who had once 
acted himself into the war. Nimbus had an excellent record; 
he had risen to corporal and been honorably discharged for a 
mild stomach ulcer. He had gone no nearer to the South Pacific 
than San Diego, but he came home to his creative labors at 
Station KICH where, from his experiences as a Marine Corps 
stenographer, he described to the Far-Flung Radio Audience- 
flung at least as far as Kanabec County the fighting on tropical 
islands, the inside politics of China and India, and the racial 
mixtures in the Balkans and Peru. He was to be heard at the 
house of Gregory Marl, explaining everything so vehemently 
that even Diantha Marl shut up. 

There were other returned soldiers in town, but most of them 
had been wounded and they were strangely unwilling to show 
off even for such interrogatory civilians as Diantha, and Mr. 
Fred Nimbus was their willing Homer. 

He remembered that Mrs. Timberlane and he had been 
chums, and he assumed that in her illness the one thing she 
longed for was his manly and merry presence. He was often in 
the house now, forgiving Jinny for having failed him, trying 
to forgive Cass for having stolen her away, brightening them all 
up by interpreting the home lif e of Hirohito. 

Round Jinny's chaise-longue gathered, too, the Pennlosses 
and Wolkes and Tracy Oleson. Cass was disturbed by the very 
gaiety that kept her cheerful. He wanted, and did not want, to 

266 



remind her that she was ill, but only when morning sickness 
overwhelmed her, or dry thirst and a series of itches revealed 
the lurking diabetes, did she want to be quiet and somewhat 
less populated. She^ looked almost too well in frail loveliness, 
an alabaster lamp. 

He hinted, "Why don't you take up your drawing again? That 
would give you something to do, and not tire you." 

"I seem to have lost all ambition. I guess that even up-and- 
coming young married women do get that way. It's not so much 
that I'm ill. I'm trapped by happiness. I'm so very proud of 
Owen." 

"Not Emilv?" 

j 

"No, it's Owen. He stirs quite differently from a girl more 
cranky. He 11 be one of these men that will take care of their 
wives even if it kills them!" 

Cass was glad of his alliance with Bradd. When the living- 
room was full of chatterers, Bradd looked at them malevolently, 
while Jinny mocked, "Look at those old crape-hangers, Father 
Cass and Uncle Bradd. You kids better be quiet. I don't dare 
peep. But I'd like to get up and dance and have a great, big, 
thick, raw hamburger and four cream-puffs. I am so hungry!" 

But if Bradd disapproved of the young people as much as 
Cass, he could step down into their ribaldry more easily, and 
Cass admired the ease with which he could say, "We all better 
get out now and give Jinny a chance to rest." 

Cass begged of Jinny, "Do I bore you by asking Bradd to 
come in so often?" and she consented, "Oh, no, I like him almost 
as well as A^OU do." 

> 

He kept from caressing her, for fear of his own wild possess- 
iveriess. He perceived again that none of the spectacles of the 
world, not the pride of war nor the pomp of religion nor thrones 
and towers and banners, was so exalted or so tragic as that love 
between men and women which had been greeted always with 
trivial welcome or with shameful jesting. 

She began to make a business of understanding that she was 
ill and could not live on pity. He was proudest of her one late 
afternoon when she reported, "I got out a little today went 

267 



over to see Mrs. Purdwin. She's been having terrible arthritis 
she's in pain most of the time, awful wrenching pain it wakes 
her up. She says it's like a whip-lash; it just takes all the hu- 
manity out of her and she becomes an animal. 

"So then I quit being so sorry for myself. I'd been feeling 
as if I were set aside from all normal people; as if I were a 
condemned man, with no hope. But after I'd talked to Mrs. 
Purdwin I got to thinking about people that are really up against 
it: men without jobs in cities, farmers with mortgages and the 
crop has failed again and the kids are hungry and cold; all the 
awful things that we first-class passengers never know. 

"So I decided you're not going to be afflicted any more by 
having a whiner around. I'm so virtuous now, it hurts! 

"But when I do slip and start whining again, you'll put up 
with it, won't you?" 



37 



JUDGE TJMBERLANE, a sensible man, explained it lucidly to him- 
self on the train: 

You're only going to be gone five or six days at most, and 

Roy is right there at hand, and Rose and Bradd will look in, and 
Mrs. Higbee is better than any nurse. And if any tiling did go 
wrong but nothing could how could you help? 

Just as well not to be around and mooning over her all 

the time. Be reasonable. And don't keep telephoning her long- 
distance every minute, either. When you get to your hotel, can't 
you get settled first, and not phone her before you even take 
off your hat? 

He apparently could not. 

Jinny said, No, nothing really critical had happened to her 
in the three hours since he had left her. 

He had been summoned to Duluth to give help with a 
crowded court-calendar. Now, in April, the trees that embraced 
the city in summer had not yet blossomed, but Lake Superior 
was free of ice, with something like terror in its steel beauty. 

268 



His hotel was just above the lake, and all evening, his business 
in court finished, idle and lonely and full of the lack of Jinny, 
he listened to the sounds of the inland seaport. From his 
window, across the narrowed end of the lake, he saw the "dia- 
mond necklace" of lights on the Allouez ore-docks, and they 
filled him, the steamers' whistles filled him, with divine rest- 
lessness. 

Jinny and he must not stay forever in the inland ruts of 
Grand Republic. 

After two evenings of dining with fellow-judges and coming 
back to the hotel to read briefs and try to think of important 
reasons for telephoning to Jinny, his bachelor state seemed de- 
plorable. He was pleased when in the hotel coffee-shop he saw 
that enterprising business woman, Mrs. Gillian Brown of Grand 
Republic, come to Duluth on propaganda for that fine, clean- 
smelling, domestic perfume, Mourir pour Amour, of which 
Harlcy Bozard was state missionary. 

She waved to him invitingly. He liked Gillian, and he moved 
to her table. 

She was in a fine ribald mood, and she also told Cass that he 
was a graceful swimmer, which no one seemed to have noticed 
before. They went to a motion picture, and Cass felt that he was 
expected to slide his hand along Gillian's beautiful arm. 

Well, he did and he didn't. 

Gillian said cheerfully, "I've got some especially good Bour- 
bon in my suite at the hotel. Come up and have a drink." 

In the full elevator, he was pressed against her. As they 
entered her suite, she threw her coat at a chair, and looked at 
him blandly. Her look said that she had always liked him more 
than he had guessed, and that, poor man, he must be living in 
tlie most undesirable chastity. All of her movements were swift 
and efficient. She mixed two highballs, without spilling a drop, 
she put them on the low table before the couch, without a 
bang, she touched his arm and drew him down to a place be- 
side her on the couch. He knew that he was almost inevitably 
going to kiss her. 

But she made one mistake. She said, "Let's have a drink, first,* 
and gulped half her glass. As she set it down, she stared with 

269 



simple surprise and fury, for Cass had warily popped up from 
the couch and was, in abject retreat, heading for his hat. 

w r 

"Gill, you're extremely attractive, and good night!" 
All the way to his room he snarled, "All right, I am a Puritanl 
I'm sure Gillian is much more sensible. . . . Jinny!" 

During the last month of Jinny's pregnancy, her mother came 
down now and then from Pioneer Falls, but she was a remark- 
able mother-in-law; she believed that it was her daughter that 
Cass had married, not herself. She came in and looked approv- 
ing and told Cass that he was a fine man, a good husband, and 
went home. 

Except for a tiny lesion on her left foot, over which Dr. Drover 
croaked unbecomingly (she said), Jinny got through easily 
to her time of confinement. She again refused a nurse. 

"The woman would just butt in between you and me, and I 
want us to be so close now, because I am kind of scared. I don't 
even want Mother or Rose or Bradd around. Don't you dare 
try to duck out of your responsibility of being my guardian 
angel!" 

"Ill put on special wings." 

"You better! And what's this nonsense about your going off 
to what you call a 'court' every day? Is that kind? Is that neces- 
sary? Do you really want to go on with this business of making 
people unhappy just because they've acted naturally and killed 
people or raped people or robbed people that were just asking 
to be killed and raped and robbed? Doesn't your court sound 
pretty silly, when I put it that way? No, you stay home with me." 

He did, as far as he could. 

That fair June evening, they sat out on the small screened 
terrace at one end of the house, Jinny wrapped in a silken 
coverlet. 

"I don't mind much, but it does go on so!" was her only com- 
plaint. 

He coaxed her to sleep early by going off to bed himself. 
His body ached with hers. Asleep, he dreamed that she was on 

270 



a steamer pulling out from the pier on which he stood, and he 
frantically wanted to leap the growing gap. He came sharply 
awake at a wail from her room. Not quite sure that he was not 
still dreaming, he was standing beside her bed without seem- 
ing to have walked there. 

She smiled, but with a twitching tic in it. She wavered, "The 
pains have started. Would you mind phoning Roy? What time 

* .O >> 

is itr 

"Just a second. . . . Seventeen minutes to three." 

"Emily is the most inconsiderate child!" 

Nothing was real to him; everything was a fantasy in hard 
steel colors, in the. night chill. He had not believed that he 
could love Jinny more, but love so filled him that he could in 
no way express it. He stooped to kiss her fleetingly, and he 
stated baldly, "Everything is in order. Relax now." 

Roy Drover's voice, answering oh the telephone, was watch- 
ful. 

Cass was dressed and back in her room in six minutes. She 
was feebly flapping around with a girdle. 

"Here, this is plenty wardrobe." He wrapped a quilt about 
her and carried her downstairs to the car. 

"But my clothes, my lovely new clothes that Mr. Timberlane 
bought for me!" she sighed. 

"I'll have Mrs. Higbee pack some and I'll bring 'em later." 

She was almost asleep again, exhausted from the pains, as he 
lifted her into the car, and she nuzzled against him with none 
of Jinny's pertness. 

Grand Republic was proud that its St. Agatha Hospital was as 
tiled and shiny, as tricky in its surgical technique, as anything 
in Chicago. But it was also as bureaucratic. The night desk- 
clerk, a young lady whom the war had unfortunately lured from 
the farm, had never heard of Mrs. Timberlane, Judge Timber- 
lane, or pre-engaged private rooms, and it is doubtful whether 
she had ever heard of obstetrics, though she should have. While 
Jinny sat in the lobby, a small bundle of acute pain hugely 
covered with comforters, and Cass roared at the clerk, suddenly 
Dr. Drover made a stage entrance, growled, "I'll take care of 

271 



her," and lifted her up onto a wheeled stretcher which he seemed 
to have slipped out of his pocket. 

Cass looked at Roy's placid, bulky power with reverence. 
This was not the old friend; this was their god. That the doctor 
could ever have done anything so lacking in cold divinity as 
sleeping and snoring that night seemed impossible. He was 
the machine that impersonally dealt out birth and death and re- 
lief from pain. 

In a hygienic, hateful private room, he lifted Jinny to the 
high bed. Against the meager hospital pillow her hair was 
stormily black, but her face was thin and small, jerking with 
agony. 

For more than an hour Cass stood clumsily about the room, 
in a fire of terror. It was at dawn that Roy nodded to the nurse, 
with "Take her in now." He did not even look at Cass, who was 
suddenly doing a lockstep up and down the corridor, shut out 
from her pain. Roy did so far recognize him as a human being 
as to come out of the delivery -room and nod, but Cass knew 
that there was danger and difficulty in there, beyond the smug 
glazed door. 

He heard no wail of a new-born infant, no cheerful slapping 
of its back, none of the traditional joys of childbirth. Roy came 
rapidly stalking out, authoritative in white gown and mask, 
followed by an orderly wheeling a stretcher, on which was just 
seen the tiny unconscious face of Jinny among the covers, and 
the nurse carrying an anonymous wrapped bundle. 

Cass had pictured the baby lying beside the fond mother, 
and Jinny awakening to love it. But the nurse took the bundle 
off to a room down the hall. 

"Girl/' said Roy. 

"How is Jinny? How is she? How is she?" 

"Oh, shell be okay. Got more stamina than you'd expect 
from such a skinny kid. She'll be under anesthetic for a few 

minutes yet But the baby Some trouble there; obstructed 

gut or something, don't know what yet; not breathing the way 
I like. May have to operate." 

They stood on either side of Jinny's bed, and Cass cloudily 
tried to associate that diminutive face with his radiant and 

272 



expansive girl. He felt that they were all in a dream, anxiously 
doing unseen things in a valley of fog. 

Roy was yawning, 'Til go take a look at the baby now. Say, 
see last night's paper?" 

"Yes." 

"Those Japs are making us a lot of trouble. You know what 
I'd do, if I was commanding the Navy? I'd just ignore all these 
outlying islands and land right on Japan itself. I don't suppose 
I'm any military and naval expert, but I bet I could do a lot 
better job than most of these professionals. A surgeon is a fel- 
low that has got to get right down to brass tacks. Of course 
it's these Roosevelt politics that are hampering " 

From the bed, the tiniest of protesting sounds: "Are you boys 
going to go on talking all day?" 

To Cass's startled, wheeling look, her beady eyes were some- 
what malevolent. 

She demanded, weakly, "Where's my baby, Roy?" 

"You'll see it in just a liT while now, honey." 

"A girl?" 

"You bet!" 

"Emily, my darling baby. Now I'll really live!" 

The nurse had edged in through the door. Roy clumped over 
to her, listened to her whispering. He turned, with more tender- 
ness in his beefy face than Cass had seen for thirty years, and 
said, "Jin, your old man here is about as all in as you are. I'm 
going to take him down and give him a drink. Come on, boy." 
In the corridor, hand on Cass's shoulder, he muttered, "Son, you 
got to have courage. For her. The baby is dead." 

For four hours, while she kept falling asleep, they spared 
Jinny. When she insisted on seeing the baby, Roy told her, with 
a grave pity, her hand small in his. 

She did not make a sound. She lay and stared at them, so 
defenseless, slowly beginning to cry. 

Long after the doctor had left them, she lay with her fac 
deep in the pillow, whimpering like a sick and frightened 
kitten. 



273 



38 



THROUGH ALL of the lingering summer, Cass and she were to- 
gether in a shadowed valley of tenderness. 

She would see no one but him; she was uneasy even with 
Roy and Rose and Bradd. She stayed abed half the day, and 
followed her diabetic diet with such severity that Roy snorted, 
"Look here, young lady, don't go getting monkish and neurotic 
on me. Don't starve yourself. You're having yourself a fine time 
playacting and being the perfect patient, but I'm not one bit 
impressed, because I know how easy you can slip and go just 
the other way.*' 

She was "playacting," Cass knew, but her play was a propitia- 
tion of the gods who had so bruised her when she had tried 
to be grown-up and a normal mother. 

Cass and she sat through the summer evenings in a mosquito- 
proof and canvas-roofed pavilion he had put up under the 
maples on their lawn. He did not know what she was thinking; 
she denied that she was thinking anything at all, and he did 
not press her. The tenderness between them was a language 
above the clumsiness of words. 

She had no wishes of her own. If he wanted to stay home, if 
he wanted to drive out to the farther lakes, she was willing. He 
who had feared that ambition and careerishness might steal 
her from him began now to wish that she had more to do and 
more longing to do it. It seemed to him dismayingly that she 
had not grown at all since he had first seen her on the witness- 
stand. 

"Jinny, how about trying an easy part-time job in the fall?" 

1 don't think I care to. Why? You're not tired of having me 
around all the time, are you?" 

1 just mean, to keep from brooding." 

1 don't brood. I'm perfectly satisfied. I hate these strident, 
ambitious women who are always clawing at notoriety." 

Did I unconsciously do this to her, to make her dependent 

on me? A horrible thing to do. I must coax her to see mor 

274 



people. But what if she likes them too much, again, and finally 
slips away from me? I must take the chance. 

She did not like walking with him even so far as to the 
Country Club, where they would meet people. His sturdy legs 
needed use, but when he did leave her for a tramp, like a 
soldier's route-marching, his companion was Cleo. 

She was a mature and dignified young cat now, not without 
affairs of her own, but with Cass she would still condescend to 
being a kitten and a playmate. She fought beautifully, pretend- 
ing to chew his finger when he whirled her around on her back. 
When she walked with him, she was more dog than cat, run- 
ning through grasses taller than herself, making enormous leaps 
straight up from the covering jungle, to see where he had got to. 

When he stopped to rest on a fallen willow by the lake shore, 
she came trotting up to entertain him, as of old, by chasing her 
tail. Her vaudeville repertoire was limited, but she always per- 
formed it with the most conscientious artistry. 

Jinny herself broke her nervous calm. "Darling, I know you're 
restless, hanging around the house with me all summer." 

He did not tell her what picnics he had planned for her and 
himself and the baby, with enchanting equipments of thermos 
bottles and rugs. 

"I get restless, too, Cass. I go crazy when I listen to that 
dratted vacuum cleaner, and even your lawn-mower. I know 
you want me to see more people. I'm trying to get myself to, 
but they still make me jittery. Let me be a hermit for just a 
little while yet, won't you. . . . Our baby! I know you wanted 
her so/' 

They had driven out to a secret lake, like a highland tarn, 
hidden among white pines and balsam. It was dark, in late 
afternoon, and she seemed fragile among the dark pine trunks, 
beside the opaque waters. 

"Chuck the whole bunch of 'em forever, if you want to," he 
said, and she wriggled to be close to him, and safe. 

Suddenly and surprisingly she laughed. "Why don't you teach 
me golf? If I could be out on the course listening to Boone 

275 



tell dirty stories, if I could get over being so damned refined 
and melancholy, maybe I'd be okay/' 
"Fine!" he said, uneasily. 

While Cass enjoyed striding the golf course, whooping in 
the great winds from the cornfields and manfully waving his 
clubs, she was bored by it and finicky and showed at once 
that she could become a much better player. In a year, she 
would have beaten him, and Roy and Bradd would have made 
his life hellish. It was not without a guilty relief that he heard 
her give up golfing. 

But at the clubhouse they did meet Jay and the new Pasadena 
Laverick, and it was the drinking and f everishness of this foolish 
pair, and their brassy ability to take a snub, that won Jinny and 
flushed her out of melancholy more than the welcomes of Rose 
and Bradd and Chris. With Grand Republic devotion to their 
friends, these more solid neighbors had not wanted to intrude, 
so long as Jinny desired the privacy of grief. But no such 
scruples were in Jay and Pas, and they yelled, "Come and have 
a gin-and-jitters, Jin!" 

Cass was prepared to have her snub thorn, but she said 
"Swell!" 

They shrieked, "Let's all go get drunk with Sabine and the 
other bums," and Jin answered affectionately, "I think you got 
something there. I dassn't get drunk Fm one of these awful 
creeping invalids but I would like to hear some swing on the 
phonograph and see a few human people. Let's go." 

Instantly, with no perceptible moment when she passed from 
timid refuge to clamorous publicity, apparently without reason 
or transition, in September, Jinny was wanting a party every 
evening, whether it was a Pruttish solemnity or a Sabine-and- 
Gillian debauch, and she was proclaiming again her extreme 
need of steaks and marzipan, and not all of Cass's coaxing 
would keep her from having one light highball. 

It was not Roy who rescued him, since she felt that it was 
practically a duty to disobey the doctor, but Bradd, the Hus- 
band's Helper. 

He barked at her, with Cass blissfully listening, Tm no 

276 



Puritan, baby. I can drink six Scotches to your one and not 
show it. But I know by experience what fools we charming 
people can make of ourselves, and I think it would be a fine 
idea for you to stay home and try to be nice to your husband 
at least one evening a year. Cass is too decent to bully you, 
but I'm not. If your sense of inferiority to him annoys you, as 
it often does me, 111 try to lighten things by coming in and 
playing cards with you two, if you ask me nicely." 

"All right, I ask you nicely, you beast!" 

She sailed into a haven between brooding and hysteria. There 
was again a household of three, gossiping, laughing familiarly, 
and Cass was very happy about it, until he noticed how often 
in arguments Jinny agreed with Bradd against him, how in- 
creasingly she rebuked him for daring to differ with the elegant- 
minded Bradd. 

Then, coming as suddenly as her earlier moods of silent grief 
and relieving wildness and halcyon serenity, they were caught 
by an outbreak of quarrels, which are the wars of matrimony, 
more destructive and senseless than tanks and cannon, wars 
in which affection is the worst traitor and the most ignoble 
defeat is victory. 

They were going, that October evening, to Madge Dedrick's 
For dinner at eight, and Mrs. Dedrick was demanding about 
punctuality. She was not so fanatic as Cass, to whom 8:00 meant 
7:58/2, but she did annoy society by insisting that 8:00 
meant some time before 8:10. 

Cass had explained all this to Jinny; oh, he had explained it! 

She was well enough to return to Red Cross work. Indeed the 
only evidence of diabetes was a lightness and breathlessness in 
tier, and a faintly sharpened face which gave her an eager 
maturity. 

She had not yet come home when Cass started to dress. 
Madge Dedrick was so elevated a personality, so close in station 
to an archbishop or a woman-author-lecturer, that one dressed 
For dinner at her house without inquiring. At 7:01 he looked 
at his watch again, sighed, and took off his coat. At 7:02 he 
remarked to Cleo, "Now where is your lovely young mistress, 

277 



cat?" At 7:04 he continued, "Curious that so clear-minded and 
competent a girl should be late so often," and, after thirty more 
seconds of removing his vest and contemplatively scratching, 
"Do you suppose it's just her way of trying to show that she's 
still an independent human being?'* 

Cleo said she didn't know. 

At 7:07, in one sock and a bathrobe, he tried to telephone to 
Red Cross headquarters, raging that it was wicked of them to 
keep his sick wife there so long, but there was no answer. 

At 7:26, bathed, shaved for the second time that day, com- 
pletely dressed and quivering with worry, he heard Jinny bang 
into the downstairs hall, singing "Roll out the Barrel," and 
skip joyfully and undiabetically upstairs. 

"Oh, hel-lol" she said cheerfully, as he looked into the hall. 

He did not say that she was late. Both their glances had 
already said it adequately. Cleo stalked downstairs as though 
she would have nothing to do with such a woman. 

"Am I in the dog-house!" muttered Jinny, but with no evi- 
dence of repentance. 

He 'stayed away from her and from the subject, then, till he 
had heard her shower-bath and the stillness that indicated she 
was making up. He ambled nervously into her room and sat 
down while she, a slightly absurd figure in bare shoulders above 
a gleamingly hideous satin girdle, was at her dressing-table, 
penciling entirely needless and imperceptible touches of blue 
on her eyelids, with as much tranquillity as though she had five 
hours instead of five minutes. 

"Uh " he said. 

"I know I'm late. I'm hustling/' 

"Not awful fast, dear; do hurry a little. Madge hates to have 
people late." 

"You mean " In the most leisurely, comfortable way, Jinny 

inspected her eyebrows and removed one hair with the tweezers, 
after examining the instrument as though she was interested in 
the historic evolution of its design and its possible unexplored 
future uses. "You mean, sweetheart, that she's slso a fanatic 
about punctuality?" 

278 



"Well, I don't know as I'd call her a fanatic, but she doesn't 
care much for having the fish-course spoiled." 

"You ought to have married her." 

"My dear Jinny, considering that she's almost thirty years 
older than I am " 

"Okay, okay! Then married her daughter. Eve is such a lovely 
widow, and quite rich, and still punctual. Just the gal for you, 
my boy." 

"See here now! I know I'm probably a crank about punc- 
tuality " 

"How did you guess it?" 

"But you go too far the other way. Unpunctual people betray 
the fact that they lack all consideration for other people's 
rights and feelings." 

''Nuts!" She was less merry now. 'Tm sick of always being on 
time myself, and then being kept waiting." 

"When?" 

"When?" 

"Yes, whenl When did you ever have to wait for other peo- 
ple?" 

"Oh, lots of times. I do try to be on the dot, and usually I am, 
too, but this rigid punctuality it's like any other bankers-asso- 
ciation virtue; it isn't worth making eveiybody's life miserable 
for." 

"We're going to make Mrs. Dedrick miserable " 

"Not tonight, because prob'ly Bradd will be later than we 



are. 

"Bradd? What's he got to do with it?" 

"He'll be there tonight." 

"But how do you know he'll be late?" 

"Because he just left me." 

"Oh." 

"And he has to do some phoning, as well as change, before 
he gets to Madge's." 

"You, uh You saw Bradd this afternoon . . . too?" 

"Yes. I just told you. He dropped me here." 

"I thought you were at the Red Cross, and that closed two 
hours " 

279 



"I was, but I got a headache, and I went out with him just 
to get some fresh air." 

"Did you phone him or did he just happen to drop in there?" 

"I don't even remember. Good Heavens, why all the fuss?" 

"I'm not fussing. I was just wondering. Course I'm glad you 
went out and Where did you go?" 

"To the Unstable. Had a drink.*' 

"Or maybe two drinks?" 

"Yes, maybe two! And why the cross-examination?" 

"Bradd's been an amazingly loyal friend, the way he's backed 
me up in my effort to get you to take some rest, but somehow 
it does seem as though it's always he who's keeping you up 
late, or getting you to take a cocktail or a walnut-mocha- 
frozen-cream-puff !" 

"Cass! Are you criticizing Bradd Criley? Your closest, most 
devoted friend, the one man who most admires you as a person 
and as a lawyer?" 

"No, no, good Lord no! I just meant w 

Empires have fallen from wars that began with "I just meant/' 

She had to hurry now, and they said nothing more, on the 
way to Mrs. Dedrick's, than that for a warm October evening, 
it was warm. They arrived fifteen minutes late, to find Mrs. 
Dedrick malignant and to find Bradd, placid and smiling, look- 
ing as though he had been there for years. 

Throughout the evening, Cass was rather dreary, but Jinny 
was full of lively points. She laughed with Bradd, but no more, 
Cass noted, than with Harley Bozard or Old Mr. Avondene. H 
was in a small torment, but not of jealousy; it was a torment 
of self-castigation at finding himself back in her boarding-house, 
being schoolboyishly jealous of Eino Roskinen. 

You took away the poor girl's job and her ambition, maybe 

took away her health, and now you resent her even having a 
few gay friends. Bradd and she are so open about liking to 
play around together that it would be obvious to anybody else 
that they're entirely innocent in their liking. 

We were on the verge of a quarrel tonight. Be careful. 

Maybe it's true, as you* always claim, that you're never the one 

280 



that starts a quarrel, but you're certainly the one that never 
lets it go once you get your teeth into it. 

I trust Bradd. Utterly. 

I just wish I hadn't heard him tell once about his tech- 
nique with young married women easing their consciences by 
praising their husbands. 

He wouldn't do that with mewith Jinny. Anyway, she's 

too shrewd. Of course he is fond of her. Who wouldn't be? 
Maybe unconsciously he even likes her too much. But never 
consciously. But maybe it would be a good idea to suggest to 
him that he ought not to get into a way of thinking he is in 
love with her. 

Yes? And how would you say a thing like that to as ex- 
perienced an attorney as Mr. Criley, Judge? 

In admission of the fact that Jinny was mildly ill, Cass always 
took her home at ten when he could get her away at ten. To- 
night, he was amiable and firm about it, and in the car he was 
unendurably bountiful. It was Jinny, usually an unretaliatory 
girl though impulsive, who was looking for trouble and ready 
to start a scene. 

'She jabbed, "You must have been absorbed in weighty 
thoughts tonight. You never even listened when Eve was telling 
us about the Riviera." 

"Heard it all before, I guess." 

Careful now! She's resentful over your lecture about 

punctuality. Be careful. 

As they came into the house, he warned himself, "Don't tease 
her about Bradd's getting there before we did, after all." So 
he looked affectionately at the heat-regulator, and said aloud, 
"Well, Bradd got there before we did, after all! We were the 
last arrivals." 

She stopped with her cape in folds about her arms, and 
launched her burning dart: "Yes, and he'd taken the trouble to 
put on a clean dinner-jacket, too!" 

"Do " 

"Don't you ever look at yourself in a mirror? Don't you ever 
try to be neat?" 

281 



"Me?" 

"You've had a spot on your lapel all evening." 

He craned at a white speck on the ribbed satin, not one of 
such dimensions or vile color as to constitute a crime. As he 
scratched at it with his thumbnail, impenitent, irritated, she 
laid her cape on a chair and turned on him again: 

"Years ago, in Florida, I begged you not to slobber all over 
yourself. Especially lapels!" 

"Yes, we're right back there, Jinny, and you haven't learned 
a thing." 

"What do you mean, I haven't learned a thing? I've learned 
plenty! I've learned that the more you talk about wanting me 
to be free and individual, the more you always want me to do 
only what you want." t 

"Dearest, I honestly don't*kno\v why you started jumping on 



me. 

"You don't? Complaining because I went out for a breath of 
fresh air with Bradd! Sulking and screaming!" 

"My dear girl, you can't sulk and scream at the same time. 
They're mutually contradictory." 

"The judge-language! It's as phony as preacher-language. 
By the way, poor Eino once asked me whether you would ever 
decide a case against a very rich man, a Wargate, and I said 
of course you would, but I begin to wonder." 

While he gaped at this slander, the astounding irrelevancy 
of this attack, she marched into the gray-and-mulberry effemi- 
nacy of their living-room. He did not want to follow her; he 
reminded himself again that he did not readily give up a war 
once it had started. 

Then he did want to follow her; he did want to fight the good 
bad fight. 

She was delicately taking a cigarette from a box of glass, 
lighting it with relish, staring at the maimed Isis on her pedestal 
for reassurance, then turning toward him with a cold unspoken 
query of "Yes, and who may you be?" 

She added, aloud, "I'm sure you'd find plenty of excuses for 
any Wargate." 

He was shouting, shouting small but well into the quarrel. 

282 



"Yes, if you really want to know, I'm a complete crook on the 
bench. And have you noticed any other faults?" 

She enjoyed it as a good household cat enjoys chewing the 
tail of a trapped barn-rat. "I don't know why you're bellowing 
at me merely because I asked a civil question one that I dis- 
cussed with Judge Blackstaff." 

"And no doubt with Attorney Bradd Criley!" 

"Naturally!" 

"I suppose I ought to be glad, though, Jinny, that you take 
even this much interest in my work. You rarely do. You never 
even ask me, any longer, what cases I've had." 

"I know. Poor man. There seem to be two kinds of husbands: 
those that complain because their wives butt into their business 
and those that complain because they don't like you and your 
energetic friend Vince Osprey!" 

He bit hard on a non-existent gag while Jinny breezed on, 

"And if you really want to know about your other faults 

I don't understand why you were so rude to Old Mr. Avondene 
this evening " 

"Me?" 

" when he was trying to tell about the early days here, 

unless it is that you always have to be the center of attention, 
you always have to be The Judge, and expect obsequiousness 
from everybody." 

That there was five per cent of truth in this did not relieve 
his injury as she swept on, sweetly, lounging in a couch-corner, 
her gestures graceful and patronizing: 

"You think that everything you say is of so much importance 
to everybodynot merely to poor untutored me. that you picked 
up out of the gutter and tried to educate and you don't even 
try to make your dictums " 

"Dicta!" 

" clear, and you talk with your mouth full, and then if 

it ever happens that people get sick of your egotism and turn 
their heads away from you for even one second, you're furious 
with them you're mushy with self-pity because you can't put 
your importance over!" 

He was appalled at her injustice, at her so recent tenderness 

283 



turning into this poison, yet he did have humor enough to see 
the comedy of her springing on him when he had been so full 
of information about her faults of unpunctuality and skipping 
off with every man who asked her. He retreated from his high 
ground, and said civilly, "I swear, Jinny, I don't know why you 
started this scene/' 

"Why?" 

"Yes, why?" 

"Heaven's sake, don't echo me like alike a If you want 

to know why I hesitate to tell you, but after the way you 

rode me tonight " 

1 did not!" 

" and yelled that I simply love to keep people waiting and 

their damn fish spoiling, Til tell you. Frankly, my friend, I don't 
have much fun living with you/' 

She said it with none of the joyful hysteria of a lovers' quar- 
rel, but so evenly that he believed her. He urged, slowly and 
miserably, "Jinny, I've given you everything I have, and in re- 
turn, you are trying to destroy me." 

As she casually rose and turned to go upstairs, she answered 
with one infinitely contemptuous word: 

"Piffle!" 

That night they slept without having made it up, without 
having spoken again. 



284 



An Assemblage of Husbands and Wives 



VIRGA VAY & ALLAN CEDAR 

ORLO VAY, the Chippewa Avenue Optician, Smart-Art Harle- 
quin Tinted-Tortus Frames Our Specialty, was a public figure, 
as public as a cemetery. He was resentful that his profession, 
like that of an undertaker, a professor of art, or a Mormon mis- 
sionary, was not appreciated for its patience and technical skill, 
as are the callings of wholesale grocer or mistress or radio- 
sports-commentator, and he tried to make up for the profes- 
sional injustice by developing his personal glamor. 

He wanted to Belong. He was a speaker. He was hearty and 
public about the local baseball and hockey teams, about the 
Kiwanis Club, about the Mayflower Congregational Church, 
and about all war drives. At forty-five he was bald, but the nobly 
glistening egg of his face and forehead, whose arc was broken 
only by a pair of Vay Li-Hi-Bifocals, was an adornment to all 
fund-raising rallies. 

He urged his wife, Virga, to co-operate in his spiritual ef- 
forts, but she was a small, scared, romantic woman, ten years 
his junior; an admirer of passion in technicolor, a clipper-out 
of newspaper lyrics about love and autumn smoke upon the 
hills. He vainly explained to her, "In these modern days, a 
woman can't fritter away her time daydreaming. She has to push 
her own weight, and not hide it under a bushel." 

Her solace was in her lover, Dr. Allan Cedar, the dentist. 
Together, Virga and Allan would have been* a most gentle 
pair, small, clinging, and credulous. But they could never be 
openly together. They were afraid of Mr. Vay and of Allan's fat 
and vicious wife, Bertha, and they met at soda counters in out- 
lying drug stores and lovingly drank black-and-whites together 
or Jumbo Malteds and, giggling, ate ferocious banana splits; 
or, till wartime gasoline-rationing prevented, they sped out in 
Allan's coup by twilight, and made shy, eager love in mossy 
pastures or, by the weak dashlight of the car, read aloud sur- 

285 



prisingly good recent poets: Wallace Stevens, Sandburg, Robert 
Frost, Jeffers, T. S. Eliot, Lindsay. 

Allan was one of the best actors in the Masquers, and though 
Virga could not act, she made costumes and hung about at 
rehearsals, and thus they were able to meet, and to stir the 
suspicions of Bertha Cedar. 

Mrs. Cedar was a rare type of the vicious woman; she really 
hated her husband, though she did not so much scold him as 
mock him for his effeminate love of acting, for his verses, for 
his cherubic mustache, and even for his skill with golden bridge- 
work. She jeered, in the soap-reeking presence of her seven sis- 
ters and sisters-in-law, all chewing gum and adjusting their 
plates, that as a lover "Ally" had 110 staying-powers. That's what 
she thought. 

She said to her mother, "Ally is a bum dentist; he hasn't got 
a single rich patient," and when they were at an evening party, 
she communicated to the festal guests, "Ally can't even pick out 
a necktie without asking my help," and on everything her hus- 
band said she commented, "Oh, don't be silly!" 

She demanded, and received, large sympathy from all the 
females she knew, and as he was fond of golf and backgam- 
mon, she refused to learn either of them. 

Whenever she had irritated him into jumpiness, she said 
judiciously, "You seem to be in a very nervous state/' She picked 
at him about his crossword puzzles, about his stamp-collection, 
until he screamed, invariably, "Oh, let me alonel" and then she 
was able to say smugly, "I don't know what's the matter with 
you, so touchy about every little thing. You better go to a mind- 
doctor and have your head examined." 

Then Bertha quite unexpectedly inherited seven thousand 
dollars and a house in San Jose, California, from a horrible aunt. 
She did not suggest to her husband but told him that they 
would move out to that paradise for chilled Minnesotans, and 
he would practise there. 

It occurred to Allan to murder her, but not to refuse to go 
along. Many American males confuse their wives and the po- 
liceman on the beat. 

But he knew that it would be death for him to leave Virga 

286 



Vay, and that afternoon, when Virga slipped into his office at 
three o'clock in response to his code telephone call of "This is 
the Superba Market and we're sending you three bunches of 
asparagus/' she begged, "Couldn't we elope some place to- 
gether? Maybe we could get a little farm." 

"She'd find us. She has a cousin who's a private detective in 
Duluth." 

"Yes, I guess she would. Can't we ever be together always?" 

"There is one way if you wouldn't be afraid.'* 

He explained the way. 

"No, I wouldn't be afraid, if you stayed right with me," she 
said. 

Dr. Allan Cedar was an excellent amateur machinist. On a 
Sunday afternoon when Bertha was visiting her mother, he cut 
a hole through the steel bottom of the luggage compartment of 
his small dark-gray coupe. This compartment opened into th( j 
body of the car. That same day he stole the hose of their vacuum - 
cleaner and concealed it up on the rafters of their galvanized- 
iron garage. 

On Tuesday this was in February he bought a blue ready- 
made suit at Goldenkron Brothers', on Ignatius Street. He was 
easy to fit, and no alterations were needed. They wanted to 
deliver the suit that afternoon, but he insisted, "No, hold it 
here for me and I'll come in and put it on tomorrow morning. 
I want to surprise somebody." 

"Your Missus will love it, Doc," said Monty Goldenkron. 

"I hope she will when she sees it!" 

He also bought three white-linen shirts and a red bow-tie, 
and paid cash for the lot. 

"Your credit is good here, Doc none better," protested 
Monty. 

Allan puzzled him by the triumphant way in which he an- 
swered, "I want to keep it good, just now!" 

From Goldenkrons' he walked perkily to the Emporium, to 
the Golden Rule drug store, to the Co-operative Dairy, paying 
his bills in full at each. On his way he saw a distinguished fel- 
low-townsman, Judge Timberlane, and his pretty wife. Allan 

287 



had never said ten words to either of them, but he thought 
affectionately, "There's a couple who are intelligent enough 
and warm-hearted enough to know what love is worth." 

That evening he said blandly to his wife, "Strangest thing 
happened today. The University school of dentistry telephoned 
me." 

"Long distance?" 

"Surely." 

"Well!" Her tone was less of disbelief than of disgust. 

"They're having a special brush-up session for dentists and 
they want me to come down to Minneapolis first thing tomor- 
row morning to stay for three days and give instruction in 
bridge- work. And of course you must come along. It's too bad 
I'll have to work from nine in the morning till midnight they 
do rush those special courses so but you can go to the movies 
by yourself, or just sit comfortably in the hotel." 

"No thank youl" said Bertha. "I prefer to sit here at home. 
Why you couldn't have been an M.D. doctor and take out gall- 
bladders and make some real money! And I'll thank you to be 
home not later than Sunday morning. You know we have Sun- 
day dinner with Mother." 

He knew. 

"I hope that long before that I'll be home," he said. 

He told her that he would be staying at the Flora Hotel, in 
Minneapolis. But on Wednesday morning, after putting on the 
new suit at Goldenkrons', he drove to St. Paul, through light 
snowflakes which he thought of as fairies. "But I haven't a bit 
of real poet in me. Just second-rate and banal," he sighed. He 
tried to make a poem, and got no farther than: 

It is snowing, 

The wind is blowing, 

But I am happy to be going. 

In St. Paul he went to the small, clean Hotel Orkness, reg- 
istered as "Mr. A. M. Romeo & wire," asked for a room with a 
double bed, and explained to the clerk, "My wife is coming by 
train. She should be here in about seventeen minutes now, I 
figure it." 

288 



He went unenthusiastically to the palsied elevator, up to 
their room. It was tidy, and on the wall was an Adolph Dehu 
lithograph instead of the fake English-hunting-print that he 
had dreaded. He kneaded the bed with his fist. He was pleased. 

Virga Vay arrived nineteen minutes later, with a bellboy 
carrying her new imitation-leather bag. 

"So you're here, husband. Not a bad room," she said indif- 
ferently. 

The bellboy knew from her indifference and from her calling 
the man "husband" that she was not married to him, but un- 
stintingly in love. Such paradoxes are so common in his sub- 
terranean business that he had forgotten about Virga by the 
time he reached his bench in the lobby. Six stories above him, 
\ 7 irga and Allan were lost and blind and quivering in their kiss. 

Presently she said, "Oh, you have a new suit! Turn around. 
Why, it fits beautifully! And such a nice red tie. You do look 
so young and cute in a bow-tie. Did you get it for me?" 

"Of course. And then I kind of hate to speak of it now, but 
[ want us to get so used to the idea that we can just forget it 
I don't want us to look frowsy when they find us. As if we 
hadn't been happy. And we will be we arel" 

"Yes." 

"You're still game for it?" 

"With you? For anything." 

He was taking off the new suit; she was tenderly lifting from 
her bag a nightgown which she had made and embroidered 
this past week. 

They had all their meals in the room; they did not leave it 
till afternoon of the next day. The air became a little close, thick 
From perfume and cigarette smoke and the bubble baths they 
took together. 

Late the next afternoon they dressed and packed their bags, 
completely. He laid on the bureau two ten-dollar bills. They 
left the luggage at the fc>ot of their bed, which she had made 
up. She took nothing from the room, and he nothing except a 
paper bag containing a bottle of Bourbon whisky, with the 
cork loosened, and a pocket anthology of new poetry. At the 

289 



door she looked back, and said to him, "I shall remember this 
dear room as long as we live/' 

"Yes. ... As long as we live." 

He took his dark-gray coupe out of the hotel garage, tipping 
an amazed attendant one dollar, and they drove to Indian 
Mounds Park, overlooking the erratic Mississippi. He stopped 
in the park, at dusk, and said, "Think of the Indians that came 
along here, and Pike and Lewis Cass!" 

"They were brave," she mused. 

"Brave, 00!" They nervously laughed. Indeed, after a moment 
of solemnity when they had left the hotel, they had been con- 
stantly gay, laughing at everything, even when she sneezed 
and he piped, "No more worry about catching pneumonia!" 

He drove into a small street near by and parked the car, 
distant from any house. Working in the half -darkness, leaving 
the engine running, he pushed the vacuum-cleaner hose through 
the hole in the bottom of the luggage compartment, wired it to 
the exhaust pipe, and hastily got back into the car. The win- 
dows were closed. Already the air in the car was sick-sweet 
with carbon monoxide. 

He slipped the whisky bottle out of the paper bag and ten- 
derly urged, "Take a swig of this. Keep your courage up." 

"Dearest, I don't need anything to keep it up." 

"I do, by golly. I'm not a big he-man like you, Virg!" 

They both laughed, and drank from the bottle, and kissed 
lingeringly. 

"I wonder if I could smoke a cigarette. I don't think C 2 O 2 is 
explosive," he speculated. 

"Oh, sweet, be careful! It might explode!" 

"Yes, it " Then he shouted. "Listen at us! As if we cared 

if we got blown up now!" 

"Oh, I am too brainless, Allan! I don't know if you'll be able 
to stand me much longer." 

"As long as we live, my darling, my very dear, oh, my dear 
love!" 

"As long as we live. Together now. Together.** 

His head aching, his throat sore, he forgot to light the ciga- 
rette He switched on the tiny dashlight, he lifted up the book 

290 



as though it were a bar of lead, and from Conrad Aiken's "Sea 
Holly" he began to read to her: 

It was for this 

Barren beauty, barrenness of rock that aches 
On the seaward path, seeing the fruitful sea, 
Hearing the lark of rock that sings 

He was too drowsy to read more than just the ending: 

Stone pain in the stony heart, 
The rock loved and labored; and all is lost. 

The book fell to the seat, his head drooped, and his arm 
groped drowsily about her. She rested contentedly, in vast 
dreams, her head secure upon his shoulder. 

Harsh screaming snatched them back from paradise. The 
car windows were smashed, someone was dragging them out 
. . . and Bertha was slapping Virga's face, while Bertha's 
cousin, the detective, was beating Allan's shoulders with a 
blackjack, to bring him to. In doing so, he broke Allan's jaw. 

Bertha drove him back to Grand Republic and nursed him 
while he was in bed, jeering to the harpies whom she had in- 
vited in, "Ally tried to you know with a woman, but he was 
no good, and he was so ashamed he tried to kill himself." 

He kept muttering, "Please go away and don't torture me." 

She laughed. 

Later, Bertha was able to intercept every one of the letters 
that Virga sent to him from Des Moines, where she had gone 
to work in a five-and-ten-cent store after Orlo had virtuously 
divorced her. 

"Love! Ally is learning what that kind of mush gets you." 
Bertha explained to her attentive women friends. 



291 



39 



THEIR AUTUMN SEASON of quarrels was to Cass as devastating 
and as senseless as a thunderstorm. Jinny was ill, and sometimes 
bored, yet why hadn't she imagination enough to see that he 
was often bored and worried as well? Why, when most of the 
time she was gay and full of small surprises for him and seemed 
tranquilly to love him, did she, under the horrible black magic 
of the quarrel, turn in ten seconds into his" enemy, the hearth- 
fire suddenly burning down the house? 

What did Jinny want? Security, scenery, power, the ability 
to recognize a quotation from Steinbeck, a ruby-and-diamond 
bracelet, a sense of self -discipline, the love of a tangible God, 
a red canoe with yellow cushions, an unblemished skin, venison 
with sauce Cumberland, many children, a seventy-five-dollar 
hat from New York, a request to speak on a nation-wide hook- 
up, dawn beside Walden Pond, the certainty of her husband's 
affection, or an Irish wolfhound? He did not know, and she 
was not quite certain. And in which of these virtuous desires 
could he most sympathize with her? 

It was difficult for each of them to guess the other's momentary 
moods. They ought to be labeled, for warning. He ought to put 
on the sign, "Stern juristbe careful" or "Playboywilling to 
dance"; she should bear the direction "Wistful little girl" or 
"Termagant dangerous" or "Sensitive artist who has been draw- 
ing in secret but expects her husband to be so discerning as 
to guess it and congratulate her." Then each of them would 
know how to start off the evening, and have nothing to quarrel 
about except each other's friends, which will be a trouble- 
some topic even among the angels in Heaven, where spirit will 
say crossly to spirit, "Who was that awful harp-player I saw 
you flying with last eon?" 

There were many springboards for quarrels: he liked the 
windows open, she shriveled in the cold; he liked pork chops, 
she liked chow mein; he had been too jocular with Diantha 
Marl, she too chilly with Judge Flaaten; he wanted to stay home, 
she wanted to go to the movies so they went to the movies. 

292 



And there he dared to consider himself a cinema critic and 
sniffed at her beloved swing musicians capering as would-be 
actors. But of them all, there was only one cause: they did not 
know what they wanted. 

There were so many things that could lead to disagreements; 
there were so many disagreements that could lead to quarrels. 
As with almost any couple, she would insist on candlelight and 
he would snort that he liked to be able to see what he was eat- 
ing. She would devote artistic agonies to curtains, and he would 
demand why it was that you dug a window through the wall to 
get air and light, and then covered it over, very expensively, so 
that you got neither. He would irritably feel trr^t he must have 
her permission before he invited the Wolkes in, and discover 
that she was sulky because she had been thinking that she must 
have his permission to do the same thing. 

Their quarrels always went the same course and always 
wound up in the same accusations, dreary as slate and vicious 
as secret poison. They said things they could not possibly have 
said. lie called her a "sponge" and a "torturer"; she shrieked 
that he was unimaginative, ignorant, and a liar. Usually, some- 
where early in the quarrel, was the rueful, "I was just enjoying 
myself so much, and now you've gone arid spoiled it all." 

Slights that had been forgotten for months woke up, and 
they protested, "What did you mean when you said I liked 
to hurt people's feelings' that time last January, I think it was?" 
And, "I won't stand any more of this!" with "Is that so!" regarded 
as a logical answer. The ritual response to "If you're going to 
be stubborn, I'll just have to show you I can be stubborn, too!" 
was "You don't have to show me!" and to "Now whose fault 
was that, I'd like to know!" the counterblow was "Not my fault, 
certainly!" 

* 

And "Of course anything that Bradd or Tracy (or Chris or 
Stella ) does is perfect, but if I do anything, it's always wrong." 
And once the two of them began saying it at the same time 
"The trouble with ^ou is, you're utterly selfish" And sometimes, 
from either of them, the senseless, maniacal "Oh, shut up, shut 
up, shut up!" or the calmly said, devastating "I can tell you 
what I'm going to do: I'm going to leave this house right now, 

293 



and I hope I never see you again. Oh, I mean it this time. 
Never!" 

None of their slurs meant anything except that each of them 
was unhappy because the other was unhappy. They were not 
things said; they were sweeps of their claws, in the jungle; and 
they were less distressing than the long, thick silences, during 
the quarrels, when they sat blankly, trying to think what it was 
that they were trying to think. 

When they made up, as they always did, they wailed, "Oh, 
I couldn't have said that to you. I know I couldn't, because I've 
never even thought it." 

They had said it, though. 

"How could we ever have acted like that?" they marveled, 
and they vowed, "We'll never quarrel again, not over anything. 
Why, darling, you can call me a three-tailed monster, and I'll 
take it and like it." 

She begged, "You take me too seriously, when I fly off the 
handle. It doesn't mean a thing it's just one of my tantrums. 
When I act childish, if you'd just say, There, there now, baby/ 
why, I'd snap right out of it." 

She didn't. 

He asserted that, if they had to change themselves in order 
to avoid quarreling, it was she who could change most, be- 
cause she was less stiffened by the formalism of law and poli- 
tics. Ah, there, she said enthusiastically, was an idea! For two 
days she was energetically holy and patient, after which they 
quarreled because he had not noticed it. 

Sometimes in the most heated middle of a dispute, he most 
loved her, and he was violent and rather unpleasant with her 
only because he was afraid. 

He realized now that it was he who loved the more, but he 
knew that in love it is truly more blessed to give than to receive, 
and he was sorry for her that apparently she could not know 
the exaltation of passion for another being. 

After every quarrel, when the emotion had burned itself out, 
he was as confused about what had happened as a man who has 
been in delirium. 

Just how did I get angry at her, anyway? Just what wa 

294 



it I said, and how did she answer? I seem to have said dreadful 
things, but I can't remember. 

But it won't happen again. Now that I understand that 

her moods are never as deep as they seem, I'll be patient. And 
so will she. She finally said she would! The trouble with her is 
that she's too honest. She has to blurt out whatever she thinks. 
She couldn't ever conceal anything: a dislike or an unhappiness 
or a passionate liking. But now that I understand this, we won't 
have any more disagreementsno moreever! 



40 



SHE HAD GONE to bed early, that November evening, purring, 
"I think I'll get enough rest for once, just to show I can do it." 

"Shall I come in and kiss you good night, when I come up?" 

"No, I'll probably be asleep. But I'll allow you to kiss me 
now." Decisively. But quite affectionately. But quite decisively. 

That was before ten. He would normally have read "have 
caught up on his reading," as he put it till twelve or one, but 
he sat brooding about her. He longed to make love to her, he 
was cold without her warmth, he was lonely without her reach- 
ing out for him. All evening he had been lonely for her even 
while he was in her presence, not ten feet away. 

The weather of late autumn was angry, and their cabin of 
steel and rock-wool and white pine and stucco seemed to be 
shaking in the gale. He felt snatched back ninety years ago, to 
the pioneer insecurities of the far-northern winter. He draped 
the mulberry curtains about him to shut off the. light of the 
room, and looked out, toward a street lamp, through slanting 
lines of sleet. The blue spruce in the yard was glassy with Wet 
and hateful coldness. 

If he could be up there, cozy with her, some miracle might 
restore the passion she had once felt for him. 

He turned back into the room, stared at a gilt clock, stared 
at the crystal Isis, without seeing them. Cleo came blandly talk- 
ing around his feet, like a little feline floor-walker in a depart- 
ment store of the affections, but he did not hear her. He was 

295 



admitting, for the first time unflinchingly, that though they 
had been married a month less than two years, though his pas- 
sion was only the stronger, he had become hesitating about 
revealing it to her, because he was no longer sure how much 
of it she could return not sure that she felt any of it at all. 

He reflected that she never, of herself, came to his bed now, 
and that he never went to hers with certainty that her arched 
and welcoming arms would greet him. 

Oh, it would come out all right there were reasons she was* 
ill but she would get better their quarrels had curdled her 
simple emotions she was still too interested in other men, Jay 
and Bradd and Greg Marl and God-knows-who. But in a few 
years she would grow up and she would be well and then all 
her ardor would be for him alone. 

But he did not want her "in a few years"; he wanted her to- 
night. 

He chased Cleo into the kitchen rather crossly; he put out 
the downstairs lights, tiptoed up, and guiltily listened outside 
her door. He heard nothing. 

Probably asleep. Well, that was fine, wasn't it? He was glad 
she was taking care of herself, wasn't he? He'd just undress 
and read in his dressing-gown. She, uh, she might awaken and 
want him to read aloud to her. . '. . Not that she ever did or 
ever had. . . . Still, she might. . . . He'd keep the door of 
his room open, so he could listen. 

When he had undressed, he heard from her room the tap 
of a cosmetic bottle or perhaps a pair of manicure scissors on 
the glass top of her dressing-table. 

She was unable to get to sleep then? 

Too bad, but 

He took a long time in going to make a light tattoo on her 
door. He was restrained by the singularly disconcerting memory 
of having read somewhere about "The sneaking look that every 
wife sees on the face of her husband when he ventures into her 



room." 



Damn it, something wrong with both of them, then! So he 
marched in. 

She said "Hello" blithely; she looked up from her dressing- 

296 



table pleasantly, and most pleasantly she commented, "You 
going to bed early too?" 

That was the trouble; she was so pleasant and safe, and so 
unmoved by his entrance; she had neither rapture nor wrath nor 
fear. Well, he didn't expect too much; but she had no interestl 

"Isn't it kind of late for you to be making up, young lady? 
You planning to go to the club?" 

"Sure. And dance! . . . Oh, I couldn't drop off to sleep, so 
I'm trying some experiments with mascara." 

He folded his hands round her breasts, kissed the top of her 
head. Her whole body remained still, unquivering. She patted 
one of his hands, too amiably, and she turned her head to look 
into the mirror again, forgetting him. 

"Good night," he said sadly, and with the most sweet and 
devastating carelessness she answered, "Night, dear." 

In his great chair, he did not read. He was trying not to think 
of the name of Bradd Criley. 

He had been doubting the entire innocence of Bradd's solici- 
tude for Jinny, and he had been guiltily relieved when the 
gossiping Madge Dedrick had let him into the secret that Bradd 
was showing too much interest in Bernice, wife of Perry Clay- 
wheel, superintendent of schools. Bernice had a pale Swin- 
burnian beauty; pale beyond porch arid portal and movie- 
theater lobby she stood, hoping that people were thinking how 
interesting she looked. Even Mrs. Dedrick admitted that she 
had a "kind of washed-out good looks." 

To that information (Cass remembered now) he had ob- 
jected, "I do hope you're wrong; I hope Bradd hasn't got tan- 
gled up with anybody," as sincerely as possible, which was not 
very sincerely. "Claywheel is anemic, but he's a good scholar 
and very kind to the kids, and I wouldn't want him to be hurt. 
I know Bradd is an expert charmer, but I don't think he'd ever 
be such a poor sportsman, and so treacherous, as to stalk easy 
game like Bernice." 

Madge had jeered, "Your friend Bradd is a busy man, and 
the only reason he doesn't rope in all the women including me 
and my daughter and your wife is that he can't find time. Don't 

297 



you think for one moment that Ber-nyce will monooolize him.** 

So Cass remembered, in his chair. 

I wonder if die explanation of Bradd's recent attentions 

to Jinny could be that he is pretending to be so taken with her 
but in all propriety, of course in order to mask an intrigue 
with Bernice? 

Cass, you know you don't believe that! 

I have to. I'll believe anything, except that these two, 

nearest to me in the world, are beginning to conspire against me. 

Bradd did not drop in so often, now that Jinny was not home- 
bound by illness and pregnancy, but he was even more intimate. 
He knew where the fuse-box was, and the orange bitters, and 
the saltines; he knew how to work the electric dish-washer; he 
knew the fact that Jinny liked a cup of beef tea that is, she 
didn't like it, but she was willing to consume it before she went 
to bed. 

On Mrs. Higbee's Thursday-night-out, Jinny had invited 
Bradd in for cold supper. 

"You sit still and take it easy and Jin and I will bounce out 
to the kitchen and bring in the chow/' said Bradd patronizingly 
to Old Man Timberlane. 

The Old Man was irritated, and at supper not very con- 
versational. His liveliest thoughts were that he hated cold ham 
and sausage and tongue, and that he considered cold artichoke 
vinaigrette one of the least excusable substitutes for food. 

Bradd rumbled, "Don't disturb the Jedge. He's thinking about 
quos Deus vult perdere prius dementat" 

"Is that legal Latin?" Jinny asked admiringly. 

"Well, it could be, in certain cases. And then again, the Jedge 
might be thinking about the Supreme Court bench." 

"Or about his corns!'' giggled Jinny. 

"Go on, tease me all you want to, children. I'm tired," Cass 
said good-naturedly. He hoped it sounded good-natured. 

"Aw, the old fellow is tired," mocked Jinny. 

"Sure. He's all worn out fining lawyers for contempt of court!" 

With a nameless melancholy, Cass could not rise to their 
gaiety. He sat owlishly watching the Bright Young People. He 

298 



warned himself, "She's having a good time. I mustn't spoil it 
for her." But he again felt lonely for her even in her presence; 
he felt left out of it, felt that it was he who was the unnecessary 
and tolerated third. 

They were talking derisively about that earnest young attor- 
ney Vincent Osprey and his blundering devotion to his wife 
Cerise. Cass noted that under Bradd's tutelage, Jinny was in- 
creasingly supercilious about people who did not know bridge, 
Vogue magazine, and wine vintages. . . . Not that Bradd or 
she knew much about any of them, either. 

Bradd cackled, "Vince said to me he wished he could get his 
dear Cerise to come to court and listen to him. He said she 
admired his tennis, and was all het up about his high diving, 
and maybe if he could sell her on his oratory, she would quit 
thinking he was the family cow." 

"You don't give Vince credit," Jinny jeered. "He's very im- 
portant. He's finally proved that virtue is always duller than 

>y 

vice. 

Cass burst. "You two superior intellects make me tired! 
Osprey is no Rufus Choate, but there's nothing funny about the 
poor devil's adoration of his wife. He'd die for her, and she'd 
be amused watching him do it." 

"Do you think that's very sensible of him?" objected Jinny. 

"No, I think it's idiotic, but somehow heroic, in this day of 
loose affections/' 

"Tut!" pronounced his wife. "It's idioticer than it is heroic. 
You know, Cass, sometimes I think Vince Osprey is a burlesque 
of your own remarkable virtues." 

"I find nothing whatever funny about marital fidelity and 
devotion!" 

"Well, I'm sure we're glad to hear that," she said coolly. Til 
get the cake and ice cream." 

When she was gone, Bradd seriously admonished him, "You 
oughtn't to yell at Jinny like that, Cass. I wonder if you realize 
how sensitive she is, even when she's being funny. You ought 
not to pick on her so. Well, I better go help her with the dessert." 

Cass was exploding with emotions, all colored red. For this 
outsider to tell him that Jinny was sensitive! to tell him not to 

299 



"pick on her"! to pat her pretty back after she had ridiculed 
every sanctity of love! 

He cooled down and thought it all over again. He was angry, 
and then, as us'ual, he fretted, "Mustn't spoil her party ." But 
hot or cold, he came always to the same verdict: 

"This is just a little bit too much! I don't like guests, no mat- 
ter who they are, that come in and make over my house!" 

He noted that Bradd and Jinny took five minutes to bring in 
three plates of ice cream and sponge cake. All the rest of the 
evening he was violently quiet and painfully amiable, and spec- 
tacularly did not notice it at all when Bradd kissed Jinny good 
night on the cheek as though it were anything but her cheek 
that he was kissing. 

When Jinny had gone to bed, Cass thought over the case 
he had had in court two days before, an accident case, with 
Vincent Osprey representing the injured workman and Bradd 
Criley the Wargate Corporation. Bradd had been so suave 
too suave. Cass had advised Vince, in chambers, to use wit- 
nesses less melodramatic and more factual, but Vince could not 
get away from the charms of sobbing relatives. 

The deft Mr. Criley had won. 

After lunch at the Federal Club, Roy Drover commanded 
Cass, "Come on in the bar. I want to talk to you." 

When they were in two red-leather chairs with elephantiasis, 
Roy grumbled: 

"I'm supposed to be a friend of yours as well as your phy- 
sician, and of Bradd's, too, and I know Tm risking all that by 
butting in, but I'm not one of these hand-holding bedside docs. 
I'm too much of a man to sit back and watch you make a fool 
of yourself." 

-What " 

"Fellow, you got to do something about Bradd and your 
wife. Town's beginning to talk. They're playing a little too 
much footie-footie." 

"Now you look " 

"Hey, hold your horses, Cass. Don't get sore. I want you to 

300 



look at this in a practical way. Don't get sore at the kid, either; 
she's fairly young, and a lot less brainy 'n you give her credit 
for. I just want you to stop all their sweetie stuff before it goes 
too far. And don't get sore." 

I'm not really. But it's all nonsense. I know Jinny and Bradd 
are good friends, but I'm glad of it, and they never even see 
each other, except at my house in my presence." 

"Sure of that?" 

"Oh, sometimes they drive down to the Unstable for a drink, 
but she always tells me about it, and they invite me to come 
and join them . . . usually." 

"What would you say if I told you they were meeting at plenty 
of other places?" 

"I'd say that " 

"Careful, now!" 

"I would doubt it. Oh, sometimes by accident, of course- 
city as small as this but never deliberately, never, and 

Where do they meet?" 

"Well, I don't know that they go to Bradd's house, though 
I've seen her driving that way, all by herself. You're in court 
all day; you don't get around like I do! And I definitely saw 
them having lunch together at that God-awful little Italian 
doggery or fettacheeney or whatever they call it, Lorenzo's, I 
think they call it, way down on Isanti Avenue, in the South 
End. I had a patient down there, and I saw *em through the 
window in the Italian dump, and I was in the house nearly two 
hours, and when I came out, the little love-birds were still there, 
laughing and having themselves a whale of a time. Did she ever 
tell you about that?" 

"No, she Oh, I don't remember. Anyway, there's nothing 

to it. J> 

"I know there isn't. There's nothing to having one pneumo- 
coccus in your throat, but when you get a few billion, you're 
sick. Anyway, they certainly are seeing a lot more of each other 
than you know or I know." 

"Don't be a suspicious old woman, Roy. Get down to funda- 
mentals. Look at their characters.' 

"I have!' 



301 



"Next to you, Bradd is my oldest and closest friend. When 
the three of us went hunting, as kids * 

'We're not kids any more. At least, I ain't! Sure, Bradd is a 
good guy except he thinks he's called to be God's little gift to 
women. He wouldn't steal your pocketbook unless it had over 
a thousand bucks in it but if he stole your wife, he'd think he 
was doing her a favor and maybe you." 

"That'd be black treachery, and Bradd couldn't ever be 
treacherous. I know him in the court room. He enjoys life and 
enjoys people and he'd do anything for you " 

"Say, for God's sake, is your whole family conducting an 
advertising campaign for Mr. Criley? Sure, the jolly little play- 
boy, and underneath his whimsy-whamsy, he's the coldest- 
hearted rich-man's lawyer and the most calculating woman- 
chaser in the State of Minnesota. You know that. It don't keep 
him from being a swell pal on the duck-pass, but he's no bishop. 

"Now I don't believe they're sleeping together not yet. But 
same time, after having her baby and being sick and all the 
rest, and married to a man who's no infant, she isn't the timid 
virgin any longer. I don't think she's actually two-timing you, 
and I guess she'd prefer to run straight, but she'd no longer be 
as scared of a little romp in the hay as well, as you'd be. I think 
you can stop her, and I think you should, but first you got to 
find out what's actually going on. 

"Say, I got an idea. Why don't I tell Lillian to snoop around 
and follow them and find out what they're up to? She's none 
too smart, but they'd never suspect her, and I will say you car 
trust her to keep her trap shut." 

Cass was too astonished to be indignant. Of all women liv- 
ing, Roy's shrinking wife was probably the least suited to spying. 

"Well, what do you think of the idea?" 

"No, I wouldn't want that done for anything!" 

"Don't you want to know what they're up to?" 

"Yes, I suppose I do." 

"Don't you think it's important?" 

"Roy, it's confusing for a man who's supposed to be reasonably 
decent to believe that his wife, whom he worships, for whom 

302 



he'd throw overboard everything and everybody, may be an 
adultress." 

"There's an old-fashioned word for you!" 

"It's an old-fashioned quandary. It goes back to Eve and the 
serpent. I'm sure the real discussion in Eden wasn't about ap- 
ples. Hang it, I don't know which is worse: to believe that a 
woman's adultery is the only form of disloyalty that matters, 
and she ought to be smashed for it; or to have this new-fangled 
idea that it doesn't matter at all, that infidelity is all good fun 
between friends. Both attitudes make me sick. But to have to 
think of such things about Jinny . . ." 

"I always did tell you you had no sense of humor, Cass, and 
you're a fanatic about your wife. You laymen never under- 
stand psychology, like a doc has to. Jinny's all right I guess- 
but she ain't the poet's dream you make her out to be, not by 
a long shot. The sooner you realize it and tell her she can either 
behave herself or get out, the happier you'll be. Incidentally, 
she's made you look a lot older." 

"That's nonsense." 

"It is, eh? That's a guaranteed way of getting old trying to 
keep up with a skittish wife. Okay. My only interest in the 
whole business is that in my own roughneck way I guess I'm 
too forthright and scientific for the kind of Eastern, pansy burg 
that Grand Republic is getting to be my only concern is, I 
don't like to see you taken for a ride." 

There was more of it, much more, but Cass did not hear him. 

He was not sleepy in court that afternoon. He listened with 
bleak attention to a case involving the theft of a woman's good 
name and seven pounds of grass seed. He looked grim as a 
wintertime Sioux warrior as he tacked and skidded his car on 
the December-bleached roadway. 

As he walked into the house, he heard Jinny telephoning: 

"I don't know. . . . No, I can't tell. . . . I'll see-ee. . . . 
Now don't be so naughty, and keep coaxing. . . . Bye, dear." 

He did not ask to whom she was telephoning. He knew. 

He was attentive through dinner, and then, for the first time, 
he launched a quarrel intentionally: 

303 



"Sit down, Jinny, and be quiet. I want to talk." 

"Do " 

"Yes, I intend to start a 'scene' a bad one. Look. Bradd Criley 
is around this house too much, and you see too much of him 
outside. I don't think it's gone too far yet now listen! but it 
certainly will if you don't come to your senses. I grant you all 
of his charms and virtues, and don't tell me what a good friend 
of mine he's been I know it. But he's a thief a thief of love 
and a thief of security, a scheming and deliberate thief. He 
wants what he wants, and he doesn't care much how many 
lives he may twist in getting it. I don't intend to see him let 
you down, as he lets down every friend, every woman, when 
he gets tired of them. That's all I have to say, but I wani you, 
I mean it." 

"Are you quite finished?" 

"I hope so. Except that I'm now convinced that it's been Bradd 
in the background who's been the unseen cause of most of our 
quarrels. That's all." 

"Then let me tell you, just let me tell you " 

"Quit it!" 

"W-what?" 

"Quit being dramatic. Be as nasty as you want to, but don't 
act Lady Macbeth. Talk sense. Let's not play at murder-trial. 
I'm in the business." 

"Oh, I never hated you before, but when you get so smug, 
so conceited, so fatuous Tm in the business'!" 

"Dear love, you know I'm not fatuous just clumsy. I'm try- 
ing to be firm and convince you that I'm not going to tolerate 
this philandering. Bradd is a closed case." 

She was confused and almost meek in her retort of "Oh, you 
think so, do you!" but she worked herself up into suitable wrath. 
She punched a pillow and launched out: 

"Do you usually try criminals without giving them a chance 
to defend themselves? If Bradd were here, and you even dared 
to hint at. what you call his 'treachery/ he'd knock you down." 

"Sorry. He couldn't" 

"And when you stood there like a prizefighter, with your 
manly foot on his chest, you'd expect me to admire you?" 

304 



"Sweet, stop it. This has nothing to do with the fact that I 
will not stand for Bradd." 

"Then why tell me? Why don't you tell Jum? If you're going 
to act the noble affronted husband, why don't you do it? Make 
up your mind!" 

He remarked, "All right." He crossed casually to the tele- 
phone. He got Bradd, at the Avondenes', and said, "I wish you 
could drive out here. It's quite important. I'll explain when you 
get here." 

During the half-hour while they waited, Cass and Jinny were 
extremely civil. They said, Have you heard the war news? They 
said, There's a hole burned in the rug in the sun-room. They 
said, I don't think the furnace is giving the heat it ought to. 

Bradd came in, snowy and smiling. Cass spoke to him with 
no unusual expression in his voice: 

"I wish you'd be careful in answering what Tin going to say, 
Bradd, and not too touchy, because I don't want to lose your 
friendship. It's been a valued possession for a great many years." 

"You sound serious, Jedge." 

"Bradd, you're too attentive to Jinny. People are talking. 
That's not so important to me as tlie fact that I'm thinking!" 

"You mean to say " 

"Yes. YouVe gone beyond safe companionship with Jinny, 
but I believe you can cut it out and we can be friendly again, 
instead of a pretty silly arid nasty triangle." 

"What's suddenly started all this?" 

"Being forced to admit what I already knew." 

"You really believe that I have what the prudes call 'evil 
intentions' toward Jinny?" 

"Yes." 

"What?" 

"I said Yes. 

-Really " 

"I don't think she has. But I think you have. Though I also 
think that you've had so many affairs that you'll never be able* 
to feel very deeply about her or any other woman now." 

Bradd rose quietly. "What proof have you of your suspicions?* 

305 



1 didn't have any till this second, when you asked that de- 
fensive question/' 

"You call that proof!" 

"Bradd, don't be insulted, don't be a comedy villain. There's 
too little love or friendship in life." He astonished Bradd, he 
overwhelmed Jinny, and he considerably surprised himself by 
grasping Bradd's arm, and urging, "I love her, and I'm fond 
of you. I would have gone to you, instead of having the im- 
pertinence of asking you to come here just to get bawled out, 
but I wanted Jinny to know just what I really said. Don't say 
anything now. You must decide whether you want to hate me 
or not. But if we three decent people can't get along in honesty, 
then there's no hope for anybody anywhere." 

"Good night," Bradd said flatly, and, as he left them, for the 
first time in twenty years, he looked confused. 

Then Cass turned wearily to Jinny, and prepared to be de- 
nounced. 

She moved toward him shyly, and muttered, "You're so su- 
perior to that fellow! I knew it all along, but I was just being 
stubborn. I do love you, and he he's yellow!" 

"I don't know that I'd call him yellow. He's really a nice 



man." 



" 'Nice' he ain't! I could tell you a lot of things about him 
that you don't know. But the point is that you've gone and 
taken me away from him again, as you do with all my beaux." 

"Good!" 

"And uh Cass, it never did go very far with Bradd and me. 
Just sort of a careless kiss." 

"I'm glad." 

"You're glad? Gee, maybe I'm not! Sweet dear!" 



306 



An Assemblage of Husbands and Wives 

\ 

PERRY & BKRNICE CLAYWHEEL 

PERRY CLAYWHEEL, superintendent of schools of Grand Repub- 
lic and president of its small Junior College, was an enterprising 
and liberal educator. He fought to have die meager salaries of 
his teachers increased, and every summer he read several books. 

He admired and even liked his lily-pale consort, Bernice, 
but he was almost impotent to make love to her, and they had 
no children. 

Bernice, that prim wanton, was no nymphomaniac. She said, 
extraordinarily often, "I think All Those Things are too much 
discussed." But she did have a normal longing for passion, and 
she went shyly tripping to Dr. Drover. 

"I'm sure you'll believe me, Doctor, when I tell you that I 
entirely disapprove of immorality, and still more of showing 
bad taste. But what can I do? My husband leaves me so dis- 
satisfied that sometimes I can't think of anything else, and Tin 
afraid 111 go crazy. What do you advise?" 

"Why don't you try to do your job right and get him inter- 
ested? You probably scare him off." 

"You mean the arts of love?" 

"Huh? Yuh, I guess you could call it that." 

"To me, Doctor, that would be sordid, and unmodern, like 
a slave-woman. I must have romanceall the beauty that the 
movies make an effort to show. I deserve it! And if Perry can't 

give it to me It isn't that I want an 'affair/ but if I don't 

have one, I'm afraid 111 go crazy. I feel so nervous. But if I, uh, 
go with a man of my own social class, I'm afraid it will get out, 
and honestly, I wouldn't want to jeopardize my husband's im- 
portant position. And if I picked up some common person, I'd 
be terrified of blackmail. Tell me, Doctor I'm dreadfully 
ashamed to even ask this, but are there uh places where 
women can go, as there are places where men go?" 

"No! Besides, I don't know what you're talking about That's 

307 



a problem you'll have to work out by yourself," snapped the 
virtuous Dr. Drover. 

Both Bernice and Dr. Drover regarded themselves as persons 
who had learned the facts of life. 

When she was in this wretched way of feeling, she took some 
papers for her husband to Bradd Criley. It was late in the after- 
noon, a rainy October afternoon, and Mr. Criley's stenographer 
had gone. He remembered, with surprise, that just then he had 
no affair on whatever, except for an interest in Jinny Timber- 
lane which that fractious girl had never permitted to go beyond 
flirtation. He looked at Bernice and thought how lovely she was, 
shining in the putrescent autumn light. He led her to the leather 
couch and kissed her. 

Even with his professional experience, he was suquised by 
the way in which she instantly went to pieces. She cried "Oh!" 
and almost smothered him with her reaching arms, and seemed 
about to eat him up. 'Is she hot!" he thought. 

They met half a dozen times in a month, and he told himself 
indeed, he rather hinted to his friend Dr. Drover that he 
was a public benefactor. Bernice asked him whether they were 
"really doing the right thing," and he assured her at first that 
it was "necessary for her health." 

What began to bore him, what made him cut the affair off 
even more quickly than usual, was the fact that Bernice kept 
moaning, "Oh, lover, we oughtn't to be doing this to Perry." 

'Where do you get that 'we'?" he protested, first to himself 
but presently to her, and she wept enough, she acted badly 
enough, so that he was able to break it off with quite a show 
of indignation. 

Now Periy Claywheel had been convincing himself that he 
was becoming a better lover, recently. There was a teacher, 
not too young, who thought fairly well of him not that they did 
anything really wrong, you understand. 

On the night after Bernice's first visit to Bradd, Perry had 
turned to her, in their golden-oak double bed, with a slight 
quiver of rapture, but she had said sharply, "Oh, not tonight. 
Anyway, it's not good for you." 

He protested that it was good for him, and that he longed 

303 



for her, and as she continued to refuse him, with more and 
more resentment, as though he were a preposterous stranger, he 
could think of nothing but his desire to be with her. He trem- 
bled with a conceptive agony that, in his humiliation, was not 
uncolored with madness. 

He did not try to persuade her again. However he might long 
for her imaginatively, in her presence he became powerless. 
He had a shameful feeling that he was not quite a man, that 
his failure was incurable. 

He was afraid of her, though he still wanted her to think 
of him as a possible lover for some time in the future, when 
she should have got over this curious triumphant mood of hers, 
which he could not understand. Looking about Grand Republic, 
he suspected that many husbands were afraid of their wives, 
quiveringly trying to placate those small tyrants. He wondered 
if there was any country save America in which a large share 
of the men were frightened continuously by their own wives. 

With all this, he became irritable at school, snapping at the 
teachers, accusing the pupils, and he no longer enjoyed the 
intellectual card-cataloging and small prides of his job. He just 
did not enjoy anything, not even the sight of Bernice and her 
beauty, for she was suddenly changing, and becoming drab and 
hesitant, uninteresting even to the young men who delivered 
groceries and with whom she had once laughed in the kitchen. 

When Bernice finally hinted to him that she was willing to 
return to his embraces, he said bleakly that he had no longer 
any desire. But he never knew what he owed to Bradd Criley, 
a man well spoken of for his geniality. 



309 



41 



MR. BOONE HAVOCK, with Mr. Bradd Criley, his attorney, was 
attendant in the chambers of Judge Timberlane, in the matter 
of an injunction against the Sequoia & Hematite R.R. 

The Judge and Mr. Criley, though they addressed each other 
by their first names, were so excessively courteous that Mr. 
Havock protested, "You boys are awful polite and helpful to 
each other today. What's trouble? Been having a row?" 

Bradd looked to Cass for a statement which might determine 
their relationship for many years, and Cass said thoughtfully, 
"Bradd is my friend, and you can't row with a friend. You might 
murder him, but you couldn't hurt him. If he did have any faults 
no, if a man is your friend, he has no faults; he merely has 
oversights that you know he'll correct when he gets around 
to it. That's true, don't you think, Bradd?" 

"I hope it is I'm sure it is!" 

"God Almighty, you boys getting so noble on me about 
friendship! You're lucky you ain't in the contracting business! 
And since you're so het up about friendship, Cass, strikes me 
you been neglecting your old friends, the Havocks, pretty bad, 
the past six months. It's that wife of yours elegant girl but 
God-awful snooty. Does she let you in under the rope, Bradd?" 

"We're on quite civil terms, I think. She is a very fine woman." 

"I guess too fine for us lumberjacks. She's got every right 
to her opinions, but don't let her take you away from us, Cass. 
We kind of need you around." 

Cass was so inept at the higher lying that he could only get 
back to the injunction. When they had finished and Boone 
was gone, Cass dropped his hand on Bradd's shoulder and said, 
with no particular emphasis, "We want you to come to Christmas 
dinner. Very much." 

"You're sure of it?" 

Tes." 

"I'd like to. I'll come and be glad to. And Look, Cass. 

I'm never going to say another word about this, but you did 

310 



exaggerate my feeling toward Jinny. If I was at fault it was 
just the 'oversight' you were speaking of. I have so much respect 
for Jinny's integrity and so much appreciation of her humor 
that I showed it in a way that, I see now, might have been 
mistaken for a quite improper ardor. But nobody knows better 
than I do that she is your wife. No, no, don't say anything; I 
just wanted to make myself clear, and I hope that now we three 
can be friends again. Good night, ole man. Christmas dinner at 
three?" 

Everything was normal and beautiful with this happy young 
couple, the Timberlanes, now, and there was obviously no reason 
why their heavenly bliss should not last forever. 

Jinny was "taking care of herself"; she got nine hours of sleep, 
covered as warmly as the doctor advised, she eschewed pastry 
and looked with sniffs upon more than one cocktail a week. She 
welcomed Cass to her bed, and wound her arms about his 
tingling shoulders, and they so rejoiced again in bodily love 
that they even saw the cosmically bawdy humor in it. 

As much as Cass, the reticent Jinny was offended by inde- 
cencies, yet she did see that it was demoralizingly funny when 
the embarrassed young Cass came in expectantly and had to 
be told that he and his poetic ardor were barred by the lunar 
rhythm. 

She jeered at him then, but tenderly, and revealed the esoteric 
fact that every woman somehow expects her man to guess that 
obvious crisis without being told. He lay beside her, his cheek 
just touching her bare shoulder, and they laughed and were 
divinely content; the world shut out, the Bradd Crileys shut 
out, the Boone Havocks shut out, and the dusty court room 
and the bitter Northern winter and the ghastly speed with 
which, after you are twenty-five, the whole good day is only one 
hour long. 

They were so commendable. Pricked by Boone's protest, 
they had the Havocks and the Drovers and the Brightwings 
and the Reverend Gadds and the Prutts in for dinner. It wasn't 
really so hard, you know; Jinny's diabetes gave Cass an excuse 
to invite their guests to go home at ten o'clock. 

311 



Their Christinas was as hearty as though no war existed. 

They drank lingeringly to all their friends in peril abroad, 
but then, as every civilian far enough from the battle has done 
in every war since Troy, they forgot it, and sang carols. 

Any strain that might be left over between Bradd and the 
Timberlanes was wiped out in early January, when Bradd came 
in to say quietly that he was going to New York to live, 
permanently. 

The Wargate Corporation had bought several plants in New 
England and New Jersey for its war materials: packing cases, 
wallboard for barracks, glider bodies, propellers, hulls. They 
had offices in New York; might even, in some day catastrophic 
for Grand Republic, move their headquarters there; and in 
New York they needed Bradd as legal adviser. 

He said evenly, "I hate to say good-bye so informally I think 
of you two as my dearest friends but there's a case on, and I 
have to grab a train tomorrow morning. My stuff will be sent 
on after me, when I get an apartment in New York. And I have 
to hustle over to Webb Wargate's now. We have a conference 
that'll take half the night. So good-bye, and come see me in 
New York, soon as you can. I'll paint the town for you. And 
you have a perfectly swell husband, Jinny!" 

He shook Cass's hand, he hastily kissed Jinny, and he was 
gone. 

42 

HE ADMITTED that he had lied to himself in asserting that she 
had settled down to contentment with housewifery and bridge 
and dinners and the Red Cross. When they came home from 
parties they laughed as intimately together and as domestically 
about their fellow-guests as those guests were then doing about 
them, and at such a time Grand Republic seemed world enough 
for her. 

Yet she was curiously older. In no feature, not in her throat 

312 



or her eyes or mouth, could you detect the minute signs of 
aging, but April was gone. She did not complain. Indeed, when 
he made the husbandly inquiry, "Are you happy?" she was im- 
patient: "Of course I am. Why shouldn't I be?" 

If she was not content, she put up with life, in a static, 
plodding way. She was only bored when, with that circular 
conversation of matrimony, the same ideas coming up as bright 
new ones over and over, he again hinted that she ought to do 
a little more war work, a little more drawing. 
' He sighed that he and his cursed domestication had killed 
so much of that part of her that was peculiarly Jinny Timberlane, 
and to no end, since he was no more satisfied with three meals 
in a day colored only by a little passion than she was. 

Did all people, everywhere, drift thus into a not-quite-painful 
dullness? Was it merely the way of the world? Well, if it was, 
he raged, he would change that world. He would pack up 
Jinny and Mrs. Higbee and Cleo and Isis and his Nonesuch 
edition of Dickens and flee. 

Where? 

That was but one mood. Most of the time, he was at ease 
as husband and judge. But the twisted mood did come, oftener 
and oftener. 

Jinny had a letter or two from Bradd, in February. She read 
them aloud to Cass, and apparently she left nothing out. 

"Am now one of the dizziest members of cafe society, and 
can read menus backwards. Have learned that Boeuf de Dijon 
en Casserole means Irish Stew, and how to answer the waiters, 
etc., in my best Gr. Rep. French, 'No soap/ " 

"He writes clever letters," said Cass. 

She sniffed. "Oh, I think they re silly." 

He thought 'so too, and he was much comforted. 

"How about a little chess, Jin?" 

"I'd just love it." 

He was worried. When she just-loved chess, a game which 
has been truly mastered by no woman since Queen Elizabeth, 
she was hiding things. 

313 



His resolve had been subterraneanly forming for two years, 
but it came to a climax irrelevantly, when he was on the bench 
during the drawing of a jury. 

My Jinny is going to die, unless I do something to save 

her. Shell wither and become an old woman early and die. 
It's more psychic than bodily, her slow fading, no matter what 
Roy says. I will do something. 

Only his mechanical judicial mind heard the lawyers. After 
court, he hastened home in a panic. With his overcoat scarce 
off, he held her shoulders, looked at her beseechingly, and 
insisted: 

"You aren't getting much out of living the way we do, are 
you? Tell me really. I think it's a perfectly good way, but per- 
haps it isn't for some people. Don't be heroic or sacrificing. 
We can do almost anything you want to. Tell me how you feel." 

He had spoken without any of the standard domestic question- 
ing, and she answered honestly, "I am getting kind of bored." 

"What would you like us to do? I don't care what it is 
growing ice-cubes in Greenland." 

"Well, sometimes I've wished you were practising law in 
Minneapolis, or maybe you could be a judge there, still better. 
Could you?" 

"Not for quite a while, anyway. Have to be elected judge, you 

know. But to go back to practising law " He sighed. "That 

would be all right. Might even be exciting. More competition. 
Minneapolis would be fine. You'd, uh, you'd like it better than 
Grand Republic?" 

"There are too many memories here: Eino and my Emily, and 
poor Jinny before she got sick she used to be so excited, such 
a fool! And there's so little to do here, not even any good 
restaurants, and in the evening, you can go to a movie or not 
go to a movie. But Minneapolis gracious, a huge city like that 
restaurants and the University and all kinds of art galleries 
and everything! Even a real show right from New York, some- 
times. All sorts of wonderful things. You're sure you couldn't 
get transferred as a judge?" 

"No, it's a different judicial district. And the chances are 

314 



about a hundred to one of my not being elected there, if 1 evei 
resigned here." 
"You asked me to be frank, and I was, and now I want you to 

7 * 

be. You do love the dignity of being a judge, dont you?'* 

"Yes, but I love it less than I do you." 

"Would it be hard to take up practising again?" 

"Well, the commercial end, especially the grabbing off of 
other people's clients, would be unpleasant. But what would 
I care about remaining a judge if I lost you?" 

"Oh, you'll never lose me! I'll always stick. You haven't a 
chance. And you would really do this for me, if I wanted to 
move to Minneapolis?" 

"I certainly would. Only, why Minneapolis? If we are going 
to tackle a more metropolitan place, why not Chicago? Or 
New York?" 

"New York terrified me. I think it did you." 

"Look, lamb, if Bradd Criley can make a go of it there, 
I can!" 

"Ye-es " 

"I'm at least as good a lawyer as he is with all apologies to 
your friend, maybe I'm a little better." He realized that he was 
betraying a jealousy of Bradd for daring to invade Megalopolis, 
and he went on more mildly: "I mean, we ought to thank Bradd 
for showing us the way. We don't have to be Westerners with 
lariats unless we want to! I don't have to hold court on horse- 
back, and you can come out of the sod hut. We'll pick up New 
York and shake it." 

"Oh, but that headwaiter at the Marmoset Club, with eyes 
like a wet old dishrag, who looks at you just once and guesses 
exactly what your income is, and do you know any As tors." 

"Maybe we'd get to know a few Class B Astors, if we wanted 
to, which I doubt." 

"I'd love to know lots of Astors big fat juicy ones, and little 
diamond-studded ones in sables!" 

She hasn't been so gay in weeks. My idea was right. 

"Jinny, you shall have all the Astors you want. Have Astors 
with your corn flakes." 

"And cream." 

315 



"And extra cream, from the Ritz. God knows even a very 
rich Astor or Vanderbilt or Morgan, one nine feet tall with a 
robe made of securities, couldn't be more chilly than our local 
John William Pnitts. Let's look their lodge over. I mean, before 
we actually decide whether I ever shall resign, I think we ought 
to go to New York and study it, to see whether, if we had a real 
home of our own there, we wouldn't enjoy the place." 

"And Cleo?" 

"Naturally." 

Jinny thought it over and said seriously, "And I guess we'd 
have tc take Mrs. Higbee, too, if she'd come. I do get a little 
tired of her dumplings, but she's the only one we could trust to 
walk Cleo/' 

lie laughed. "You're already beginning to think of New York 
as possible." 

"Maybe I am. And I imagine that if you did step down from 
the bench and had to stand looking up at some other old 
meanie sitting there, you'd rather have it farther away than 
Minneapolis." 

"Possibly." 

"You'll get used to being down in the prize-ring again. Beat 
'em all up! After all, a referee doesn't have as much fun as the 
scrappers. . . . Oh, Cass, shall we really try New York?" 

"Yes, well go see what legal openings there are." 

He pondered, not for the first time, that she did not really 
comprehend what it would mean to him to give up the honor 
of his judgeship and his belief that in some minute way he> 
was guarding the rights of man, adding to the etenial code 
of justice. She had not complained about it, but she had never 
altogether understood why he was willing to take far less in 
salary than the fees he could make as a practitioner. He remem- 
bered tli at when she had visited his court room, she had been 
considerably less stirred by the finality of his " 'Jection 'stained" 
than by Bradd's insinuating address to the jury. 

He wondered whether today, as women more and more took 
on professions of their own, wives in general were less interested 

316 



in their husbands' work; whether their ears wandered from the 
men's shop-talk as their eyes wandered from the marriage-bed. 
Was the sanctity of the profession, to be followed for a life- 
time, for many generations, and rarely to be thrown over for a 
"better-paying job," vanishing from society along with the 
sanctity of the single family? 
It frightened him. 

Judges Blackstaff and Flaaten were annoyed whei^ Judge 
Timberlane wanted to run off to New York for a week during 
the busy court days of early February. But Roy Drover was 
annoying. 

"Going to see our old friend Bradd there?" he hinted. 

"Certainly." 

"Your wife going to see him, too?" 

"Why not?" 

"I wouldn't know. Probably I'm wrong, so please excuse mo 
for living." 



43 



BRADD CRILEY met their train in New York. He was wearing a 
black camel's-hair coat and a black Homburg; he who had 
edified Grand Republic with plaid overcoats and a green hunt- 
ing-hat with a feather. With Jinny, as with Cass, he merely 
shook hands. 

Naturally, Cass had reserved a suite at that only hotel, the 
Melchester, but Bradd cried, "Oh, I meant to w,arn you. I used 
to think the Melchester was a good joint, but now I realize that 
nobody but Middlewesterners stay there. I wish I could put 
you up at my flat, but I have just the one bedroom. Maybe I can 
get you accommodations at the Gayling. The manager there is 
a good friend of mine." 

"We'll be all right. Only be here six-seven days," said Cass. 

If their suite at the Melchester was not the same as the one 
they had had before, it was even more so, more white-paneled 
and chaste and monastic. Isis was again set on die window- 

317 



sill, to <sec New York. Jinny flushed over worshiping the crystal 
toy, and turned to Cass with "I am silly, I know!" 

It was the last time during their stay when he saw her as 
youthful. 

That evening, by the arrangement of Bradd and in Bradd's 
phrase, they "painted the town red." They went to one restau- 
rant and three night-clubs, and in each place had the same table 
and the same waiter and the same drinks and the same waiting 
for their bill and the same excessiveness in the bill when they 
did get it, and on the whole, if the taxieabs were expensive, 
still, it did not take them much longer to go three blocks by taxi 
than to have walked. 

In each miniature heaven, Bradd introduced them to the 
same man, only sometimes this man was fat and had a girl, and 
sometimes he was thin and had a toupee and a girl. They all 
drank, and Cass felt dull. He probably was. 

He explained that he was thinking of practising law here. 
Bradd sounded doubtful: 

"Of course you're a swell lawyer, much sounder than I am, 
but it's hard for me to see you either in a limousine or the 
subway. You like walking home through the snow too much. 
Me, I'm a chameleon. I may yet wind up as a tenor. It's only the 
fact that the Wargates and Boone have always backed me that 
has kept me from being an ambulance-chaser." 

He looked at Jinny, and her eyes said that he was too modest. 

"So 1 can switch from the slow pace of Grand Republic to 
this hundred-and-four-degree fever tempo of New York and not 
get nervous. You study a guy for a long time before you accept 
him as a friend, but I can pick up a hundred new people in a 
day, and drop 'em just as quickly. God knows it would be 
wonderful to have you here, but I think you ought to go kind 
of slow about deciding." 

They all became more or less drunk, and Cass could not re- 
member whether, at parting, Bradd kissed Jinny or not. 

She slept long after Cass had awakened, next morning, and 
he was touched by the pleasant sight of her: rosy and half- 
smiling, with her left index finger clasped in her right hand. 

318 



Over his solitary coffee, in the parlor of their suite, he saw 
himself back in a law office, bargaining, arranging, advising, 
tactfully welcoming new business. . . . There was a long table, 
and on it the files about a client with a temper and a red- veined 
nose, and beside it that client himself, and Counselor Timber- 
lane was about to lose his lucrative but distasteful business by 
advising him that you really can't sue for the possession of 
property merely because you like the view from it 

A tap, and Bradd came in, in a gray overcoat and a new gray 
hat and a red chrysanthemum, but closing his eyes in pain. 

"Have I got a hang-over!" he moaned. "Were you wise to 
only drink half as much as I did, last evening! Hope I'm not 
butting in, but I was too high last evening to make any real 
plans for us today." 

Cass had not known that Bradd was to make plans for them. 

"The lady awake yet?" 

"The lady is awake but I'm not sure she's alive!" floated from 
the bedroom, and Jinny weaved in, much too pretty in her 
negligee. She shook hands with Bradd as though they were rival 
undertakers. 

He had coffee with them, and suddenly he was no gilded 
New Yorker but one of the hometown boys, ready to trade all 
the shops on Madison Avenue for the lint-smelling aisles of 
The Tarr Emporium. 

"I was kind of pie-eyed and boastful, last evening," Bradd 
grumbled. "Oh, I have met a lot of people here, almost as 
many as I claimed, but I'm still lonely, and am I glad to see 
you! I haven't anybody here who's a hundredth as close to me 
as you two arenobody whose house I'd drop into uninvited, 
except my sister's place, way out in Darien. I go out there for 
week-ends, and Avis is a grand woman, but she is rather sot in 
her ways. Oh, I'm making a lot of social contacts that will be 
invaluable later, but I haven't got anybody, male or female, that 
I can knock around with. 

"If you're free, I can take the whole day off. Can't you put 
off seeing prospects for twenty-four hours, Cass? Oh, see if 
you can't rig it. We'll lunch at the Plaza, and then take a taxi 
up and look over Grant's Tomb. You always hear about all the 

319 



visiting firemen going up there, but I never met anybody that 
has. Maybe Grant's no longer there. He may have left in a huff. 
We ought to find out, and tell the Associated Press. 

"Then we'll have dinner early, at a Hindu place I know of, 
wonderful curries, and go to a show, Oklahoma. Avis will come 
in town and join us I've already phoned her and I have foul- 
tickets already. Got 'em by almost you might say a fluke. 
They're absolutely impossible to get, show is a sell-out, but the 
agent is a great friend of mine; he said to me, 'Mr. Criley, I 
wouldn't let anybody else have these tickets, not if it was the 
President of the United States/ 

"So come on, Cass; let's you and I and the girl take the day 
off and be fancy-free. Time enough to act serious tomorrow. 
Just say the word and I'll phone my office." 

"Bradd, I'm sorry as the dickens, but I have dates with law- 
firms all day long. Why don't you two skip off together, and 
I'll meet you and Avis for dinner?" 

Bradd seemed entirely cheerful about this desertion. "J us * 
as you say, Boss. I'll squire the lady around and get her back 
here fairly early and have Avis ineet us all here at seven. Be 
sure and be on time, so we won't miss any of the show, and be 

dressed Got your Tux along? Good! I know most of these 

New Yorkers aren't dressing for the theater, in wartime, but 
we'll show 'em the kind of speed we're used to in Grand Re- 
public! Be sure and be all ready by seven, so we can have a 
leisurely dinner. You'll appreciate that cocoanut soup." 

"Do I get asked about any of this?" demanded Jinny. 

"You do. Do you?" said Bradd. 

"I do," said Jinny. They laughed they two. 

Cass croaked, "Well, I got to get started, I'm afraid. Shame 
I got these engagements." 

That was at ten A.M. 

At five minutes after ten, Cass went down in the elevator. He 
had no engagements whatever. 

He was ashamed of his suspicions, but he could not help it; 
he sat in the lobby, in a niche behind a petrified palm, waiting 
to see when Bradd and Jinny would leave. 

Not till this morning had it occurred to the simple husband 

320 



that, after his warnings about treachery, his wife and Bradd 
could possibly continue to intrigue against his peace and 
decency. But he had seen Bradd looking at her in her negligee, 
he had seen flying between them the glances that do not need 
words for a body. 

He saw them skip through the lobby and out to a taxicab 
at ten minutes to twelve. 

She was in a gray suit with a yellow sweater as lively as a 
fiesta. She looked, to his sensitized mind, three years younger 
than when she had left Grand Republic three days ago. She 
was rosy and excited, and the shadows of her illness and Emily's 
death and middle-class boredom seemed lifted from her by a 
new light. 

If that fellow has such a good effect on her, and if I really 

love her as much as I claim I do, I ought to hand her over to 
him, even if he doesn't want me to even if she doesn't! 

No! The improvement in her is just travel. She'd go out 

quite as cheerfully with Greg Marl or Lloyd Gadd. 

But Bradd isn't like them. He can really be evil. There 

are a few people that actually are evil. He's no good. 

Don't fool yourself, my friend. That's what makes him 

dangerous. Women love wolves and heels, the way decent men 
often love insinuating little tarts. And women will sacrifice any- 
thing for their compliments and for their embraces. Real witch- 
craft. To think that Jinny, who's been clean as a doe in a forest, 
could stand the bog that Bradd loves to wallow in. 

1 won't think that way about either of them! 

1 wonder where he stayed in our suite while she was 

dressing? 

Oh, shame, Cass! 

He telephoned and made engagements to see the heads of 
several law firms. Then he had a horrible afternoon of sitting 
in Georgian waiting-rooms, dens of knowledge and of contempt, 
where from the tops of classical bookcases the busts of Cicero 
and Judas Maccabeus and Roger Taney looked down at him 
and denied that he could ever have been a congressman or a 

321 



judge. What had he come in with samples? Where was the 
briefcase? 

When he finally talked with the Heads, they were less 
chummy than the plaster busts. They were looking for office 
boys, not partners. 

He lunched by himself at an Automat, remembering how in 
better days Jinny had loved the magic doors which opened on 
mince pies. At five he went by himself to a riewsreel, and in the 
war scenes he saw only the faces of Bradd and Jinny and heard 
only, "Can't you let the poor girl enjoy herself?" 

He was back at the hotel at six-fifteen. Jinny had not returned. 
He was dressed at six-thirty-five, and trying to find the Dick 
Tracy comic strip in the confusing New York newspapers, 
which didnl have even the Weather Report in the right place. 

Bradd's sister Avis the refined Mrs. William Elderman of 
New York and Darien telephoned up from the lobby at six- 
fifty-nine, came in, in rich apparel, looked all over the room 
(fourteen by sixteen) and said accusingly, "Why, Bradd isn't 
herel" 

She obliquely let him know that she was not accustomed to 
being dragged into town like this for every stray tramp from 
Minnesota. They made talk and looked at each other resent- 
fully, while Cass peeped at his heavy pocket-watch, Avis at her 
tiny curved wrist-watch. They were increasingly nervous as 
Time jumped from seven-fifteen to seven-thirty to seven-forty- 
five to eight 

"But where are they?" observed Avis. 

At ten minutes after eight, Jinny and Bradd whisked in, very 
gay. They must have stopped at Bradd's apartment, for he was 
now in dinner-clothes. Certainly they had had cocktails. 

Jinny rejoiced, "My, I'm afraid we're late most awfully sorry 
I'll hustle and change like a rabbit-hound!" From the bed- 
room she could be heard as she dressed, in no especial haste. 

Bradd said innocently, "Do forgive us, Sister Cass. I know 
we're horribly late, but we got to talking and laughing about 
the Prutts and Queenie Havock, and we didn't realize how late 
it was getting to be." Then, boyishly and sweetly, "Guess I was 
sort of homesick for local gossip." 

322 



They had a feverishly gulping dinner and missed part of the 
play, which offended Judge Timberlane's principles of art and 
of economy equally. And Avis rather spoke about this, later, 
when they sat at the Marmoset, since she had "gone and taken 
the trouble to come clear in from Darien, reallyl" In Cass's brain 
was a pulse beating, "Be careful or you'll lose her be careful 
you'll lose her be careful." 

While Bradd was being sardonic about the audience at the 
play, who were people very much like Bradd Criley, Cass's head 
went on beating, "They certainly weren't tiying to hide any- 
thing, when they came in an hour late! They trust me not to be 
a jealous maniac. I'll show that I trust theml" 

He blurted, "I'll have to be seeing law-firms again, all day 
tomorrow. Suppose you could entertain Jinny, Bradd, or are you 
busy?" 

"I'd feel honored to elope with the lady, but I'll be rushed 
with work all day," said Bradd; and Jinny, "Matter fact, I'll be 
rushed myself. Be at the hair-dresser's most of the time." 

Cass was so pleased by their casualness that he barely noticed 
it when Bradd went on, "But maybe I could snatch just a few 
minutes, Jin, and grab a quick sandwich with you for lunch, 1 ' 
and she, with equal indifference, answered, 'We'll see. Call me 
at the hair-dresser's Madame Lorraine's." 

The thunderstorm was over, the sky cleared, the birds twit- 
tering. Even Avis, after two highballs, was sunny, and told them 
about her first grandchild. She was proud of having one at her 
age of forty-five, as though it was something special and foxy 
and quite unsuburban that she had done. At midnight, Bradd 
put her into a taxicab and returned boisterously. * 

They moved on to the Jive Hive and there sat or danced till 
three, and Cass did not suggest their going home, for he was 
fascinated as Bradd, swiftly drinking, turned into the complete 
and obvious satyr, and Jinny clearly did not mind. She was 
excited when by black art, before their eyes, the good house- 
dog, the faithful spaniel, was transformed into an amorous 
werewolf. 

In the 1940's, not even the machines for destroying lives and 
cities were more ingeniously developed than the novelties in 

323 



the American vocabulary. The ancient four-letter words pertain- 
ing to generation and digestion were brought from the garden 
fence to the Junior Misses' schoolroom, and in the lower reaches 
of etymology, there was also a treasury of new labels for the 
sort of male once described with relish as "an agreeable scoun- 
drel/' He could now be referred to not merely as a cad or a 
bounder, but as a heel, a drip, a punk, a lug, a jerk, a louse, 
a stinker, a rat, a twirp, a crumb, or a goon. There were ex- 
quisite distinctions among the precise meanings of these words, 
but most of them were allied to "wolf," the contemporary term 
for a confirmed seducer or amateur pimp, a type well thought 
of at the time. 

Meditatively considering these terms, Cass decided that his 
old friend Bradd was a heel, a stinker, a rat, and a wolf. 

Bradd was, as he became drunk, most whimsical and prank- 
ish. He spoke to the waiter in a gibberish which he explained 
as Modern Persian. He thought it was amusing to steal a silver 
teaspoon. 

He told the Timberlaiies just enough of his affair with Bernice 
Claywheel to give himself a reek of sexual potency. He picked 
up an anonymous, damply pretty woman at the bar, brought her 
to their table, told her that he was a renowned Los Angeles 
psychiatrist, and treated her dipsomania by pouring so many 
highballs into her that she went off and was sick in the women's 
toilet. 

When Jinny was definitely not amused, Bradd's round face 
cleared to a look of sober and engaging youthfulness, and he 
confided, "I ought to apologize to you for kidding that poor sot, 
but remember I'm a prairie hick, and I can't resist showing up 
these sophisticated New Yorkers. Cass, doesn't it seem incred- 
ible that that slattern and our lovely Jinny belong to the same 
female sex?" 

"Yes yes incredible we'll go home now, Jinny." 

In the taxicab, when Cass growled, "Bradd acted like a 
hobbledehoy," she snapped, "Oh, don't be so picky! He never 
acts like a judge, if that's what you mean. He loves fun and 
adventure." 

324 



When with long yawns they had reached their bedroom, they 
undressed in verbal darkness. Cass got what solace he could 
from the fact that Jinny and he would have dinner by them- 
selves tomorrow evening. 



44 



MR. CROSSBOW of Crossbow, Murphy and Thane, in which firm 
Cass's classmate, Dennis Thane, was a partner, was born in 
Yankton, South Dakota. He thought highly of Midcllewestern 
men arid of the Minnesota judiciary; he said Yes, he believed 
arrangements could be made for Judge Timberlane to join their 
firm; in fact, they would be honored. 

Cass walked a mile up Broadway from Pine Street, out of the 
district of gold certificates and steamship tickets, dazed that he 
should have chosen to make his home in this wilderness where 
grizzlies prowled all night and rattlers lurked all day. He was 
at once homesick for the stillness of Dead Squaw Lake and 
proud that he might some day be a millionaire, invited out to 
Long Island palaces where each guest had three bathrooms. 

Let's see. Jinny wouldn't care for the suburbs. Probably 

get an apartment on Park Avenue. Maybe on the river. Be in- 
teresting to watch the boats I guess. 

He was to meet her at the hotel at six-thirty. They were to 
dine together, and he rejoicingly had two good seats for Berg 
Nord's new play. 

He pictured himself rushing in to her with the news. That 
morning he had merely mentioned the voodoo word "diabetes," 
and she had sworn that she would be back at the hotel by five, 
and have a nap. 

- We won't overdo it tonight. We won't even go backstage 
and see Berg. I'll send her to bed by half-past-eleven. 

She was not in the suite when he arrived. He sat waiting for 
her till twenty minutes past seven. When she came in, tired 
and blank, he controlled himself, but the excitement and sur- 
prise had gone out of his news and he said methodically, "Well, 

325 



looks as if we really can stay in New York. I can get a partner- 
ship with a good firm. All we have to decide now is when I re- 
sign from the bench. Do you want to come here before this 
summer, or wait till fall, when it'll be " 

"No!" She looked secret and unhappy as she interrupted him. 
"I don't want you to give up being a judge. I can't do that 
to you, too." 

"I low do you mean? Too?" 

"Oh, just generally disappointing you." 

"You haven't. You couldn't!" 

"Oh, Cass, don't do it! Take me home tomorrow, if you can. 
Please give up this whole idea. I know you couldn't be happy, 
practising here, and then how could / be happy? I was so stupid 
and didn't realize, but when I see how you writhe and you 
should; they're so incredibly packed and vulgar how you hate 
these night-clubs, and even the streets, that are so tall and no 
trees, then I know you mustn't do it. Let's go back now\ I will 
try to be satisfied, and I'm sure I can be, now I know how fast 
and noisy tin's place is." 

"Of course if we lived here quietly, in a nice flat, like most 
New Yorkers " 

"No, no, no! I want security and our home and Cleo. 
Please!" 

"You scarcely have to coax me! Of course that's what I want, 
too. But tomorrow?" 

"Tonight, if we only could!" 

That evening he was able to get, for the two of them, one 
single upper berth on a minor railroad to Chicago, for the next 
day. He telephoned to his putative new partners, Mr. Cross- 
bow and Mr. Dennis Thane, at their homes, that he would not 
be able to join their firm. They both said that he had "let them 
down," but Cass, to whom such an accusation would normally 
have been occasion for alarm, scarcely heard them. 

He was too busy to ask Jinny what she had been doing all 
day. 

"I think we can still make our show, all right," he said hap- 
pily. (Aspens gentle by the Sorshay River!) "Want us to have 

326 



some fun, our last evening here. It will be the last for quite 9 
while, I guess." 

"Yes see Cousin Berg " she said feebly. 

But he went on conscientiously, "Or do you think we ought 
to give up the show and spend the time with Bradd?" 

"Oh, I don't think that's necessaiy. We've seen a good deal of 
him. Can't we just telephone him?" 

He liked that very much. "Sure. I'll try him now." 

He did not reach Bradd till after the play, to which he was 
not veiy attentive, so swelling was he with thought of the com- 
ing spring back home, when the top of their blue spruce would 
be dotted with red buds, like a tiny Christmas tree, the moun- 
tain ash starred with white, and the earth-smell sharply 
clean from Northern rivulets. People here could not understand 
how proud and separate was his land, nor how completely it 
drew him back, with no regrets for the heathen wonders of 
Broadway. 

He had Bradd on the telephone at midnight, and said apolo- 
getically, "Well, despite all we could do to entertain her, Jinny 
has decided she wants to go home. Looks as if I wouldn't hook 
up with any law firm here, for a while at least." 

"Won't I see you before you go?" Bradd sounded regretful 
but not inconsolable. 

"Afraid not, till the next visit, but we hope you'll be coming 
out home soon." 

"You bet, Cass; soon as I can." 

"Jinny will be wanting to say good-bye now. . . . Here you 
are, Jin." 

She was cordial enough, but so impersonal tljat Cass was 
pleased: "Good-bye, Bradd, my dear. It's been fun having you 
show us around. You're the real rubber-neck-wagon guidel 
Sorry we won't see you, but I feel a little sick and bothered now 
you know New York is so big or so I hearl Some day I'll 
write you, if I don't get too busy with the spring gardening. 
Good-byel" 

The one flaw was that next morning, when they were pack- 
ing, they found that the crystal Isis had disappeared. They 

327 



searched the two rooms, they looked under the twin beds, they 
summoned the chambermaid, the housekeeper, but they did not 
find it. 

Jinny never saw again the little shining talisman which she 
had loved so youthfully, so long. She sat crying, her face against 
her thin arm. 

All afternoon and evening, in the club car, he learned the 
strangest tilings about Wisconsin cheese and haddock-liver oil 
and the percentages of grades in the Rocky Mountains, from the 
indigenous magazines. Jinny was in a mood so sacred that 
he dared not speak to her. She sat covered with silence as with 
a veil, hands collapsed but eyes roving sightlessly. It was evi- 
dent that she was trying to decide something that had to be 
swallowed with a gulp or spit out angrily. 

They had to sleep in the one upper berth; they who had not 
shared a bed all night for many months. Cass was as embar- 
rassed and guilty and yet excited about it as if they had never 
yet shared a bed at all. She would undress up there by herself; 
he would shuck off all that modesty permitted in the smoking 
compartment, and climb up and finish his undressing after she 
was tucked in. 

The wartime world, accustomed now to every fantasy of 
travel, saw and was uninterested in the spectacle of the stately 
Judge Timberlane, in undershirt, trousers, and glove-like Pull- 
man slippers, coming down the aisle carrying coat and shirt and 
shoes and dangling tie, and climbing to the upper berth, the 
last public view of him merely a pair of trousered legs waving 
high in air. 

He was not a comic figure to himself, but even the dignity 
of the reserved unhappiness that had come over him as he had 
watched her all evening was denied him as he wriggled out of 
his trousers, into his pajamas, sitting on half the constricted 
space of the berth, while crowded over on her side under the 
blanket, her face in the shadow of her pillow, she bleakly ob- 
served him. Her right fingers lay touching her cheek; her bare 
arm was misted with the sleeve of her thin nightgown. She 
would have been an invitation to passion but that there was 

328 



neither desire in her look nor any fun of intimacy, but only 
wariness and a doubt that hinted of fear. 

He remembered their honeymoon night, remembered the 
rowdy adventure of her popping across the aisle and into his 
berth. 

As he crawled under the covers beside her, and hesitatingly, 
just to say good night, slipped his arm about her scarce-covered 
shoulders, she flinched away from him. She moved over the inch 
or two that was her only room for escape. He drew his arm 
back, muttered "G' night" as indifferently as he could, and pre- 
tended to sleep. 

Astounding and sudden, he found that there were tears in 
his eyes, and that he was mourning, "She is drifting away from 
me. I can't hold her. She and Bradd were loyal to me, but 
there will be another Bradd, a less scrupulous one, and I can- 
riot hold her. She is drifting away." 

The last stage of their journey was on the "Borup," the 
familiar old club car from St. Paul and Minneapolis to Grand 
Republic and Duluth. Cass had known it since college days, 
and for twenty years had known Mac, the old attendant. On it, 
very welcome, were Diantha Marl and Eve Champeris, brittle 
and lively and superior in black suits and small pert hats, and 
Cass was proud of them, citizenesses of no mean city, proofs 
of home. But Jinny scarcely saw them. There was nothing of her 
there except her slight body. 

But she was still distantly civil as they arrived in Grand Re- 
public toward six, in a dusk that even the friendly sight of the 
tall Pv elevators could not make anything but cold and dark. 



45 



FOR CASS and Jinny, when they came in from New York, Mrs. 
Higbee had ready a supper of hometown superiority: heart- 
shaped waffles with creamed chicken, potato pancakes, pudding 
with extra hard sauce. 

Jinny looked at it and sniffed, "Tearoom junk." 
She had not even asked for Cleo, and it was Cleo whom the 

329 



fond, habitual husband expected to lure his wayward girl back 
to contentment. All husbands have such baits, and they are 
childishly hurt when they do not catch the silver fish of love. 
Mrs. Higbee "just didn't know where that ole Cleo was at." The 
animal had taken to wintertime excursions and absences that 
she never explained. But after supper, while Jinny was looking 
in a bored way at the Evening Frontier, Cass found the little 
cat in a corner of the garage, half under an old rug, looking up 
at him questioningly. 

It's all right, Cleo. I'm sure it's going fo be all right," Cass 
insisted. 

When Cleo was dropped into her lap, Jinny smiled, and 
hailed her, "Have you been good, kit? Have you studied your 
rodentology, and stayed away from the Toms?" 

As she said it, Cass realized that it did not mean a thing, 
and that if she could thus talk to the cat whom she trulv loved 

^ 

through a shroud of brooding^ then she was distracted indeed. 
When Cleo leaped from her lap and came resentfully over to 
him, Jinny did not even notice. 

"Tired?" he groped. 

"Yes, very." 

"Like me to call up Rose or the Wolkes or Jay and Pasadena 
or somebody?" 

"Not tonight." 

"Uh Jinny. I've had a I think we might drive out and see if 
Emily's grave is " 

"Please! Don't talk about that, ever. I'll go by myself some 
time. I don't want to make a parade of it." 

"I didn't " 

"Sorry I'm so cranky. I feel all in." Her smile was a wince of 
pain. "I think I'll go up and get undressed and crawl into bed 
and read. You can kiss me good night now." 

Their kiss was the touch of dry leaves drifting together, and 
she did not look back as she went out to the hallway. 

She does miss Bradd. It's an awfully good thing I had 

the sense to get her away from him when I did. Now we can 
start all over again. 

settled to his accumulated mail, which stirred his usual 

330 



query whether Democracy could endure the inventions of the 
typewriter and of advertising. He looked through the un- 
solicited magazines, the brochure from the Wargate Corpora- 
tion announcing that right after the war they would be making 
everything out of plastics airplanes, egg-beaters, book-bind- 
ings, communion cups, the bulletins from the numberless asso- 
ciations for organizing virtue ("please send check or money- 
order immediately") and all the other mimeographed letters 
with typed-in addresses which, intimately addressing him as 
"Mr. J. Cass" or as "Mr. C. T. Judge," announced that they had 
heard of him as a Leading Citizen, so would he kindly remit. 

Lost amid these reminders of an enormous and clashing world 
which had ntf interest in the tragi-comedy of married love, Cass 
looked at his watch and was startled that an hour had sneaked 
by since Jinny had gone upstairs. He would peep into her room, 
softly, not to awaken her. 

He tiptoed up and to her door. When he eased it open, she 
was sitting on her bed, crosslegged, adorable in pajamas, her 
hair reckless. She was so young, so feminine. She tilted her face 
with a smile, but the smile suddenly closed, as though it were 
someone else whom she had been expecting. 

He stood just inside the door. She said gently, "My dear, it's 
no go. I love Bradd I love him! I thought I could run away from 
him, but I'm going back to him, in New York." 

These words took just over nine seconds to say, and they 
devastated his life and hers completely. 

Before he answered he draped a silk comforter about her, 
so that she was in a little Asian tent. He sat on her pink-lined 
window seat. The whole room seemed so female and incom- 
prehensible to him. He could no more fight it than he could 
fight the scent of flowers. 

"Going back to him immediately," she said. 

"No. You're not. I'm going to hold you." But he was listening 
to himself critically. "I'm going to fight for you. You're every- 
thing that's good." 

"Good?" 

"Oh, you're not half as bad as you try to be." 

"Don't be so smug!" 

331 



'Tm not. And I'm not angry, either. Not even at Bradd. He 
makes me sick, more than angry. But I won't yield. For your 
sake, too. You're sick; you can't stand this insanity just now. It 
will kill you/' 

"It's the only thing that will save me. If I can't be with him, 
I will die. I suppose it does look crazy kiting right back there, 
just after our return but I'll be happy then, and well." 

"You'll never be happy with that fellow, not long. You think 
you're a great adventuress, a great Haunter " 

"I do not!" 

"But you're really a pathetic child. I can see you among those 
big buildings, in the dark streets, trudging along, a little scared 
figure, so little, with no one to depend on, once Bradd has let 
you down." 

"He'd never let me down." 

"You know he will!" 

"Well . . ." 

"And you always forget you're ill." 

"I never forget it. And I want to get well. That's why I must 
have someone that I love near me." 

After this implication, he could say nothing, and she raced 
on, "It's all arranged. I've just this minute talked to Bradd on 
the telephone. Oh, should I have done that, from your house? 
I'll pay you for the call." 

"Oh, God!" 

She did not heed his cry. "I'm to stay with Avis, out in Darien, 
and skip into the city once in a while and play around with him 
it will be enchanting. Avis knows all about diets, and she'll 
watch mine, and I'll really look after my health, till you divorce 



me. 

"I'm not going to divorce you.'* 

"I knew it! So old-fashioned! I thought you realized domestic 
tyrants had gone out. Are you really going to try and handcuff 
me? Well, let me tell you " 

"Stop it. I won't bind you, except to this extent: I insist on 
your taking three months to think this over, and to find out what 
a hard-hearted professional charmer Bradd 'is, before you file 
any divorce suit. I'm afraid you'll have to do that back here in 

332 



Minnesota, unless you want to go to Reno. You won't be a resi- 
dent of Connecticut, and the only ground in New York State, 
even if you established residence there, is adultery, and that's 
a cause which I don't intend to afford you, no matter how oblig- 
ing I would like to be. If after this three months you still feel 
you must go ahead, I shan't oppose it I think. But " 

His law-office carefulness broke down. "My beloved, my dear 
wife, I never thought I could say this, I thought I had too much 
pride, I thought I despised acquiescent husbands too much, but 
I would rather see you go off and be Bradd's mistress for a year 
and then come back to me than see you divorced and lost to me. 
Life is worthless without you." 

"Life will be worth just as much to you as it was before you 
ever saw me, and maybe more. I've been bad for you. And I'm 
sorry, because I have great respect and fondness for you." 

" 'Respect and fondness'! God! What d'you think I am?" 

"Now don't try to be the hairy-chested brute. It doesn't be- 
come you. You prefer fondness and respect, and probably what 
you stand for is much finer than any of the frivolous, dissipated 
things that Bradd and I like." 

" 'Bradd and I'! Please keep that bastard's name out of this." 

"T> J. Q** 

But can \\er 

"Nq-o, but still Look, Jinny. My life wasn't worth much, 

before I saw you. Like most people, most of the time, I was just 
getting along, satisfied if I wasn't sick or angry or too tired or 
too lonely, plodding on toward a decent death, with no idea at 
all what possibilities there were in the human mind and body, 

and Jinny! I've got to know. I keep skirting around it but 

Did you sleep with Bradd?" 

Her embarrassment was less than his as she looked down at 
her hands, slowly rubbed them, and answered "Yes." Then she 
raised her head. "But never, honestly never, till just the other 
afternoon in New York, when I went to his apartment. I thought 
it was just for a drink, and to wait while he dressed for dinner 
and the show." 

It was not at all with a dull ache that he heard the catastrophe, 
but with a lively sickness and a runaway imagination. He could 
sec what to him was a horror and a blasphemy: Jinny shyly 

333 



undressing with her sacred body exposed to the gluttonous eyes 
and cynical fumbling of that libertine, Jinny's breasts against 
the cold heart of that thief and scoundrel, Jinny glancing up at 
him as devotedly as she had at her husband. 

His black shame for Jinny's nakedness, his black hatred of 
Bradd, must have shown in his face. She was fluttering, "Now, 
I guess you will divorce me!" 

"I would not divorce you even if you became a public harlot. 
Then least of all. You are my wife not just a woman who hap- 
pens to be legally married to me. You can drive me away, but 
I won't ever turn away, not ever." 

A confused "Oh" from her, and a long, blinding silence out 
of which he struggled: 

"I hate your physical contact with another man, and I don't 
know whether that's out of common jealousy or out of fastidious- 
ness, and I don't even care much I hate it! Don't make any 
mistake about that. But I suppose I could make myself forget 
it. I don't know that your betrayal itself is any worse than the 
fact that it happened with my oldest friend. And even that is 
no worse than the discovery that youVe lied to me." 

"I never lied to you!" 

"You certainly did, by implication you and Bradd playing 
out that farce of saying good-bye on the telephone, our last 
night in New York. ... By the way, I suppose you and he had 
been together in his apartment that afternoon, as well as the one 
before?" 

She did not answer. 

Jinny to wait for Mr. Bradd Criley's condescension in 

Avis's select suburban residence! What a sordidness of respect- 
able adultery! Civilized divorce. Sophisticated modern sex rela- 
tions. Exquisite sluttishness. Fashionable bestiality. The intel- 
lectual cocktail-hour diversion of smearing three lives with 
manure. 

Poor, bright, energetic, weak-minded Jinny, with no idea 

what she'll be up against when she's not so young. I must take 
care of her, even if I have to lock her in the attic. 

Then he was urging, "Jinny! Let's be practical for a moment. 
You're assuming that after you've stayed for a few months with 

334 



that delightful hag, Mrs. Elcierman, and after I'm used to get 
ting along without you " 

"I hope you will be." 

"I hope I never shall! After death, you become used to get- 
ting along without a lot of things, but that won't make it inter- 
esting. I was saying: What makes you think Bradd will still 
want to marry you? He's completely unscrupulous in protect- 
ing his freedom." 

"You don't understand him. You can't. You're too old." 

"Oh, come off it. I'm only two years older than he is." 

"Not really. As IVe told you before, you're fifteen years older. 
He does things because they're fun." 

"Sure. Great charmer!" 

"Does charm seem to you such a bad quality for a girl to 
have in a husband?" 

I'm not coming off so well in the argument. And this is a 

life-death struggle to hold her, not just a squabble. 

"Yes, I think it is bad, when it's deliberately turned on and 
off, as it is with a blackguard like Criley." 

"You mean *heel/ don't you? You know, when you say he's a 
heel, you're talking like a man, and it doesn't mean a thing to 
a woman, unless she's half-man herself. Very few women care 
a hang about the laws or the social rules. What they love in a 
man is the feeling that he isn't merely with them, but that he is 
them, and feels and thinks as they do before they've finished 
thinking it. What people like you detest about the heels, the 
outlaws, is that they don't give a hoot for the idiotic rules that 
you've set up to protect your own awkwardness, which comes 
from your never really being completely one with a woman, 
but always remaining a little aside from her, noticing how good 

you are or how bad. And expecting her to do what Bradd 

just laughs when I'm unpunctual, and maybe you can't trust 
what he says, but with me he's always truthful!" 

"Don't you suppose a lot of other women have defended 
Criley, too?" 

"Oh, don't call him 'Criley'. It sounds like childish spite." 

"Sorry. Can't think of him any other way now. How many 
women " 

335 



"If Bradd has brought joy to a lot of bored women, is that 
against him? Darling, let's not go on bickering. I know Bradd! 
I didn't want to fall in love with him, and the last thing I wanted 
to do was to hurt you. I really tried to run away from him. I 
hope you won't remember me as a loose woman. I couldn't 
help it. Bradd he seems to understand everything that matters 
to a woman. I do want to be quiet, but I'm afraid it will have to 
be with him." 

It sounded so flat and incontrovertible. 

He broke off brusquely. "We could argue- all night, but I guess 
you'll need some sleep, if you're really taking another train 
tomorrow. Good night." 

He kissed her blankly and left her. 

He sat in his room, rubbing his stocking feet, fertile in plan, 
paralyzed in action. He went to bed and, certain that he could 
not sleep, he slept. He awoke abruptly, longing for her and, 
without meditation about it, padded into her room. It was dark. 
He wriggled in beside her, tentatively slid his arm about her. 
She whispered, "Oh, my dear, I do love you, too, in another 
way." She was crying, and. he let her cry on his shoulder. 

A current of passion, which seemed to come from far outside 
them, ran through them both, and her hand which had lain so 
laxly on his shoulder tightened, and he turned toward her. He 
knew then that, however demon-ridden she might be, there was 
something eternal between them. 

But when they awakened to early light, she sat up and said 
with distaste, "You better skip back to your room and let me 
sleep. I have a long journey ahead of me." 



46 



"WHAT WE DID last night that really seems to me immoral," she 
said* at breakfast. 

"Now look, Jin. Spare me the subtleties. I'm trying to say a 
tender farewell to an erring daughter and she is erring beyond 
imagination and that's all I can manage. This whole business is 
plain imbecile." 

336 



"You've got to admit we've both been honest." 

O 

"When a mother loses her temper and beats her child and the 
child yells, I suppose they're both honest enough! . . . Here. 
I went over to Harley's, before you were up, and raised some 
cash. Here's three hundred dollars." 

"Thank you/* Very non-committal. 

"I'll send you a check at Your address will be care of Mrs, 

William Elderman, Darien? Of all the tragedies played to jazz, 
that's the worst. Jinny! Won't you wait and think about it?" 

"Please, Cass, oh, please! For Heaven's sake! Do we have to 
go over everything again? I just want to get started.'* 

She remained thus frozen until she had to turn over all her 
keys to Mrs. Higbee, to whom she hesitated, "You might use 
the vacuum-cleaner on the curtains in the living-room/* 

"Yes?** How Mrs. Higbee knew that Jinny was quitting, they 
did not understand, but it was evident in her contempt. 

"They*re very pretty curtains, you know.** 

No answer. 

"I picked them out.** 

No answer. 

Cass was deciding that he would discharge Mrs. Higbee to- 
morrow, then that he would never discharge her. 

Jinny tried again. "And, uh, Mrs. Higbee?" 

"Yes?" 

"Remember to change the Judge's bathroom mat as often as 
it needs it." 

"I always have, Mrs. Timberlane. Is there anything else?" 

"No-o, I don't think so/* 

Mrs. Higbee clumped out, her back an exclamation-point, 
and Jinny peered, helpless and frightened, about the room that 
she had made and that Cass and Cleo and she had come to love. 

It was time to go. "I don't think 1*11 say good-bye to Mrs. 
Higbee," trembled Jinny. "But to Cleo!" 

The little cat had retreated far under the couch, and would 

- 

not come out to Jinny's pleading. "Kitty, I just want to stroke 
you once more!" Jinny begged. "Please come out!** 
Cass said evenly, "Sorry, Jin, but we*ll have to hurry." 

337 



In the car, she sighed, "Nobody really cares one bit about me 
here. All right. The hell with 'em!" 

"One person loves you/' 

"I do love him, too." 

On the station platform they kissed and said good-bye, tight- 
lipped. He recited, "I shall always be waiting for you." 

"Don t wait." 

"How can I help it? Good-bye, my Jinny." 

Then, incredibly, she was in the train, gone from him, just 
two years and two months, to the hour, after their marriage. He 
saw her through a car window, so small, so helpless and defense- 
less, looking around for her seat, and the train had snarled 
and gone. 

"Why did I let her go?" he marveled. 

Then, first, he realized that he would have to explain her 
absence to practically everybody in Radisson County. He heard 
the whole male world of Grand Republic croaking, "Me, I'd of 
spanked the little fool and locked her up." 

It occurred to him as he stood on tlie platform, too confused 
to get into his car, that he could refuse ever to give her a 
divorce, that she had no grounds whatever. 

But I couldn't do anything of the sort, and I don't know 

whether I'm a hero or a coward. 

Til be alone tonight tomorrow night every night now, 

no sight of her reading in her chair, no sound of her voice, no 
good night to say to her only loneliness and silence to say 
good night to. 



338 



An Assemblage of Husbands and Wives 

HELIXES & SILBERSEES 

DR. SEBASTIAN SELBERSEE looked like a tall and wiry Scotch 
soldier, and his wife Helma like a slender Jewess. Actually, he 
was Jewish and she born an Austrian baroness of pure Gentile 
stock, both of which facts she concealed, in Grand Republic, to 
be the better identified with her husband. 

Their closest acquaintances were Rice and Patty Helix, the 
managers of the Masquers. The doctor believed that they were 
all drawn together by his 'cello and Rice's ardent but stumble- 
footed piano-playing, or by their common zeal in pinochle, but, 
without the men's knowing it, the families stuck together be- 
cause the two wives were the little mothers of their husbands, 
and could keep their learned boys happier when they played 
together. 

The four had pick-up suppers, and afterward the doctor and 
Rice went at their pinochle, feeling superior to the humble wives, 
who washed the dishes and talked about preserves. 

After World War I, the Baron Steinehre, born in a castle, had 
been as poor and thin as a rabbit. He worked in a Vienna bank 
and gave elegant little teas with the cakes limited to two per 
guest. When his daughter Helma, in the clinic in which she was 
a volunteer nurse, met the ardent but diffident young Dr. Silber- 
see, she married him, chiefly because he was so gloomy about 
the future of the Jews, and of Austria, and of aural surgery. 

Leaning on her nervous strength, he was a great researcher; 
without her, he was a cafe strategist. They fled from Vienna just 
ahead of the Nazis, almost starved in London and in New York, 
and then pushed out to the distant Grand Republic. The doctor 
gave up notions of aural surgery, and was competent and fairly 
prosperous as an eye, ear, nose, and throat factotum. If in 
Vienna he had drunk in the reassurance of Helma as he had his 
coffee with whipped cream, here on what he considered the 
frontier ( even in the formal gardens of the Webb Wargates, he 

339 



went on expecting to see grizzly bears), he was kept alive by 
her and his 'cello and the Helixes. 

Helma had to taste everything for him. She rather liked ice- 
cream soda, comic strips, griddle cakes, baseball, oil-burners, 
chummy medical salesmen, and the fact that everybody called 
him either "Sebastian" or "Doc" the second time. 

She molded his private life, but publicly, in his office, he was 
still king, and there Helma revered him as much as the student- 
baroness had done. 

It was the opposite with the Helixes. Publicly, in "show busi- 
ness," he was not very competent, but in private life he was a 
bit too deft; he cheated at cards, he systematically failed to pay 
his bills, and he drew and sold astrological charts. 

This crookedness his wife accepted, and merely sought to 
regulate. She tried to make him see that cheating and voodoo, 
lovely though they are, and exciting, don't get you any farther 
on the way to the heavenly reward of a white cottage with green 
blinds in Wilmette, Illinois. 

When they had met, she had been a run-of-the-mill touring- 
company actress and he the stage-manager, playing small roles 
and playing them drearily. She had married him because he was 
the first man who had asked her; he had married her because 
she had nice ankles and mended his socks, and because he 
owed her twenty-seven dollars and a half which he could never 
repay otherwise. It had been a tremendous success; they en- 
joyed both bed and breakfast together, and the talk about every- 
body whom they met. 

He was not bad as a Little Theater director, because Patty 
told him whom to cast and, at rehearsals, how to teach the local 
girls not to walk across the stage as though they were going to 
the corner-grocer for dried codfish. And she kept their income 
adequate by doing all the housework, cooking the simpler vege- 
tables so that they seemed edible, and doing odd histrionic jobs 
on the radio. 

With both the Silbcrsees and the Helixes, husband and wife 
understood each other and, working hand in hand, they could 
defy the world. They could exchange opinions about strangers, 
signals that it was time to go home, or hints that here was a new 

340 



patient, a new theater contributor, with just a sliding glance of 
the eye. At any party, Mrs. Silbersee accidentally let the heathen 
know what a great physician her husband was, and Rice Helix 
indifferently informed some merchant that if he could get Patty 
to broadcast on his local program, everybody concerned would 
immediately make inconceivable quantities of money. 

After eveiy party, walking home arm in arm, they would laugh 
together, little delighted people walking home through the 
twenty-below-zero Minnesota winter night. 

No revolutionary cell, no laboratory team, was ever more 
secret and loyal and quietly unscrupulous than the Silbersees 
together or the Helixes together. Yet closer than either pair of 
lovers were the minds of Helma and Patty when they recog- 
nized the golden conspirator in each other, and saw that their 
two husbands could be coaxed to be allies in the ceaseless war- 
fare between the world and couples who are so presumptuous 
as to want not wealth and publicity but only love and serenity 
and a sandwich. 

So every night when Rice was not directing a play, the four 
of them met at the Silbersees' house or the Helixes' two-rooms- 
over-a-store, and the men made a little music and played a little 
pinochle, and the two wives gossiped in security. 

It probably would not last. The Great World does not permit 
such unquestioning love and ill-paid truancy. 



47 



CASS TIMBEKLANE was pretending that he was a judge, sitting 
on the bench in a murder case. What he was really doing was 
sitting on the bench in a murder case. 

The audible case was that of a construction-gang laborer 
who was alleged to have killed his foreman with a pickaxe, after 
an argument about Finland and Russia. Sweeney Fishberg, for 
the defense, showed that there was a question which of the 
gang had done it, and somehow suggested that it had been a 
good idea anyway. He had smuggled into the case a confusing 
dispute as to which of the suspects had worn a mustache at the 
time of the killing, and for hours there had been the dreary 
and inexpert testimony of barbers, neighbors, and people who 
happened to have taken snapshots at that time at about that 
time somewhere near that time they thought. 

Judge Timberlane was attentive enough, but his mind con- 
stantly slid off to a second trial that was dearer to him and more 
agonizing. In this inaudible and imaginary trial, he was the 
defendant, charged with having killed Bradd Criley 

Oh, quit your childish day-dreaming! You know that 

you're too civilized, or too flabby, even to beat him up as you 
once boasted to Jinny that you could, you shanty chevalier! 

You don't particularly want to kill him. "Vengeance is 

mine, saith the Lord: I will repay." But you haven't even a good 
healthy desire for vengeance, the Lord's or anybody else's. You 
don't see Bradd as an enemy, but as a worm, a crawler into 
decent men's honest bread. 

Suddenly the criminal in the imaginaiy trial was not himself 
but Bradd, and he, as judge, was in a splendid, romantic posi- 
tion. Awkward obstacles like codes and juries were cleared away. 
Bradd trembled (though he had never yet seen Bradd tremble ) 
before the Judge, the very Judge whose lovely young wife he 
had stolen. He was charged with rape, embezzlement, high 
treason. The Judge was shining and mighty as an ancient 

342 



Israelite law-giver upon his throne, and righteousness glowed 
upon a face dark with honorable wrath. 

But his nobility triumphed, and he thundered, "Accused, 
while I could send you to prison for all your shameful years, 
I hold the law above my private wrong/* 

Rats! 

Of course practically, the way I could get even with 

Bradd would be to let the Wargates know what sort of a crook 
their legal representative is. Pull him down, as for years I've 
helped to raise him up. 

Yes? Now can you imagine what a decent fellow like 

Webb would say if you came around tattling about one of 
his staff? 

Well, I didn't seriously mean I'd do it. 

You better not seriously-mean-it! 

Cass would have said that he had small "imagination," but 
he did have his projections of thought. 

What would the ruthless and fickle Bradd do to his girl? 
Would he live on with her, but so neglect and mock her that 
she would escape into boozing or scarred cynicism? Would 
he kick her out, and in that humiliation would she lose every 
pride and eagerness? 

Cass did not at all think that her adultery was a prank to be 
smiled over. He was raw with the affront. Yet he insisted that 
there had never been in her any malice, any delight in hurting 
him. She was fundamentally good, as the pleasant Bradd was 
fundamentally evil. 

Or so he meditated. 

The minute Comedy of the Murderer's Mustache, on which 
hung the life-imprisonment of a human being and the future 
of his family, plodded on. Vincent Osprey, associated with Fish- 
berg in the defense, was making notes, then plucking at 
Fishberg's sleeve and whispering into his irritated ear. The 
master of the court, watching Osprey, reflected: 

1 can tell he's been having a row with that grasping wife 

of his again. He's so nervous and helpful. 

343 



Anyway, he would never write to her the long letter which 
he had instantaneously planned while stooping to drink from 
the fountain in the court-house corridor that morning: a nasty 
little piece of literary goods about her new associates in the 
East being libertines. As he listened to the pounding of the legal 
machinery, his spite seemed as trivial as it would be useless. 
This tragedy of his loss was as far beyond his control as this 
trial was beyond control of the prisoner, and it had less sense 
and pattern. 

Cass's defeat, he believed, came neither .from the intentional 
malice of men nor from the conscious irony of the gods. It 
merely happened, like a storm, from causes that could be traced 
clearly enough but still did not make sense. Human beings, who 
Dould crush the atom and talk round the world, still could make 
no more illuminating comment upon the collapse of solid- 
seeming love than the ancient wailing, "Whywhy why?" 

The session closed for the night. In his chambers, Cass wearily 
took off his silk robe and handed it to George Hame. 

"Sweeney doing a fine job," yawned George. "If he had a 
single bit of evidence on his side, he'd get that Hunky off/* 

"Believe the fellow's guilty, George?" * 

"Guilty? Of course he is." 

The Judge was thinking of his wife's lover. "What is guilt, 
George?" 

"You want a real definition, Judge one to go in the text- 
books?" 

"That would be valuable." 

"Guilt is what makes you send for Sweeney Fishberg. Good 
night." 

Cass drove home by streets dreary with the packed and sooted 
snow of late winter, to finish up the unhappiest labor he had 
ever known: packing Jinny's clothes and trinkets to send them 
to her in Connecticut. 

It was like preparing a beloved body for burial. 

Small white wool socks, "bobby socks" they were called, to 
be worn with bare legs that were made-up to look tanned. He 

344 



could see her legs, the gloss of them speckled with tiny dots. 
He sighed and packed the socks, patting them down in the top 
tray of her trunk, wondering whether he would ever see them 
again. 

Airy dresses, so flimsy and empty now, yet, as he fitted them 
on hangers, recalling her swiftness and grace. Blouses and white 
silk underclothes, which he found decorously folded in her 
bureau; a boyish scarf, which she had loved for picnicking, and 
a sweater, straight and prim, the curve of her breast gone from 
it; scuffed tramping shoes, which recalled to him just when 
she had got this scratch on one toe as they had bushwhacked 
through the woods by Dead Squaw Lake. The nightgown which 
she had worn on her last night at home. Round the shoulders 
were tiny wrinkles from her sleeping. It seemed to him still 
warm from her body. 

Her sketch-book, with gently spiteful drawings of Boone 
Havock's bulkiness and Roy Drover's tough jaw . . . and Brack! 
Criley resting easy and masterful on a golf stick, and Cass him- 
self, put into the costume of a cardinal. 

The volume of Yeats that he had given to her and that she 
had loved: the old edition, the blue cover with the falling 
leaves, the cross, the mystic rose. He fumbled through it to a 
poem he had read to her, sitting on windy Ojibway Hill: 

All the heavy days are over; 
Leave the body's colored pride 
Underneath the grass and clover, 
With the feet laid side by side. 

He saw Jinny lying stilled in the cumbersome earth. As he 
closed the book, he noticed a corner of paper sticking from it, 
and pulled out a note: 

How's for a swim this evening? You would 
comfort the lonely heart of 

Bradd. 

Cass grimly replaced the note in the book, packed it, closed 
the trunk. 

But next morning, when the trunk was carried out by the 

345 



expressmen, it was as though her coffin were being borne out 
of the house for the last time the house that would not quicken 
again to her voice and her light running; carried over the 
threshold which she had always crossed so gallantly, unaided. 



346 



An Assemblage of Husbands and Wives 

VINCENT & CERISE OSPREY 



PROBABLY NO DULLER nor more careful attorney had ever been 
graduated from Oberlin College and the Yale Law School than 
Mr. Vincent Osprey; probably no more devoted or less skillful 
husband had ever existed; and certainly no more placidly selfish 
wife has been recorded than Cerise, his consort. 

She wanted fine clothes, furs, jewelry, automobiles, perfumes, 
and English biscuits imported in tins; she wanted power, ad- 
miration, and beauty; and neither Vincent's income nor Vin- 
cent's influence was large enough to provide them. 

Cerise never drank too much, and never fished for anything 
more than fair words and a handshake from men. She did not 
expect them to give her the treasures she longed for; she went 
beyond that, and wanted them of her own right But she was a 
collector of celebrities. She simply had to have the great ones of 
the town the mayor, the judges, the millionaires such as the 
Wargates, the Grannicks, and Berthold Eisenherz at her table, 
and she expected Vincent to persuade them to leave their nice 
warm houses to go and eat petrified fowl at the residence of a 
minor attorney. 

Vince did once coax Webb and Louise Wargate to the house 
for her, but he spent the evening in excitedly overselling Cerise's 
talents to them, and they did not come again. She very properly 
punished him, and for a month, whenever he tried to kiss her, 
his lips reached nothing but her strong white teeth. She said, 
"Most wives would just let you go on making a fool of yourself, 
but I happen to be honest." 

She went resolutely to his office and examined his books; she 
knew exactly how much money he had; and yet she charged up 
bills that he could not meet, and so endangered his small stock 
of credit and his smaller stock of sanity. He was unavoidably in 
debt for his insurance, his club memberships, and the install- 
ments on the refrigerator, the car, the radio, and even the house, 

347 



tor naturally he was one of those optimistic Americans who ac- 
quired these tribal adornments on the installment-plan. 

He tried to scold her about it, but she did not spit at him. She 
had found a retort that was much more dramatic and self- 
congratulatory: she over-apologized, and admired herself for 
her humility in doing it. She was sorry; she had been blind, 
thoughtless, bad; he must think she was a perfect fool; she was 
sorry, OH she was so sorry! 

As she said it, it was evident that she was thinking, "What a 
miracle of modesty and good manners I am, to apologize to this 
little squirt!" 

When she had finished, she immediately hastened out to begin 
running up a new bill or to insult the wife of his best client. 

She did not treat only Vince to these improvisations on the 
theme of humility. She also played her so-sorriness for the neigh- 
bors from whom she had borrowed cocktail glasses, table-cloths, 
and money, which she never returned till the owners demanded 
them. She was a good actress. She could make her repentances 
more infuriating than the original injuries. 

They had one child, a small son, whom she taught to "forgive 
his father for his meanness." 

Vince was not so sub-human that he did not occasionally 
threaten a rebellion. Once, when they were driving to Minne- 
apolis and he stopped at a village gasoline-station to fill the 
tank, she wandered up Main Street and did not come back for 
half an hour. On her return, he took a strong foreign-office at- 
titude: 

"Some day when you do that, I'm going to drive off and leave 
you/* 

She looked at him a long time, then: "I hope to God you will. 
Some of the hicks in this dump look like real men. Maybe I 
could promote one of them into something better than a title- 
searcher!" 

When the war came, Vince was still of draft age, and he 
waited to be called. Cerise immediately found an office job in 
the Wargate plant; learned not only stenography but something 
about the manufacture of wallboard, and became a real Career 

348 



Woman, an office politician and an intriguer against the women 
whose jobs she wanted. Within a year she was receiving seventy- 
five dollars a week. 

Theoretically, she was paying a woman to care for her son, 
but Vince paid the woman and Cerise blew in on dresses and 
bracelets all of the seventy-five and more. She said that they 
could not afford a maid. She started with the noon shift, and 
before he left for his office, he laid out breakfast for her. The 
complaints about her extravagance which he dared not make to 
her face he hinted about in notes which he left for her in the 
refrigerator. 

She told the women in the office about this cowardly and 
exasperating trick. 

The Wargate staff presently offered her a job in their new 
Racine plant, at ninety a week, as personnel officer. She went 
home to tell Vince. She would be going in a week. 

"You can't leave me and the boy!" he wailed. 

"Well, I wouldn't mind taking the kid along, if I thought it 
was good for him, but you, my dear Vinsolent, I hope I never 
hear another of your dear old Yale songs again!" 

During the week before she left him, Vince had to talk with 
someone about the loss of his wife, or go mad, but as he had no 
other intimates, the only person with whom he could talk was 
that wife. She was not helpful. He begged her to tell him what 
to do, and she suggested that he kill himself. 

Presumably she did not mean it. 

When she was gone, this correct young man, who for years 
had trained himself to get eight hours' sleep, to do exercises be- 
fore the window for ten minutes every morning, to swim twice 
a week in the Y.M.C.A. pool, never to use any word more foul 
than "Damn," and nightly to kneel by his bed and say "Now I 
lay me down to sleep" as he had done ever since he was three 
this model young lawyer within one week became a haggard 
hobo, unshaven, staggering, publicly and noisily drunk, slob- 
bering in saloons till he was ordered out. 

Judge Cass Timberlane, a man whom Vince revered, though 
the Judge was only eight or nine years older than himself, came 
calling on him, where he lay dirty in his dirty bed, and urged 

349 



him to go away, travel, forget. Vince sobbed that it was too late 
and he had already "gone to the bad/' but the Judge assured him 
that he, too, had once fallen to pieces, even smaller and worse 
pieces than Vince's. 

He knew that the Judge's own wife was away from him, and 
gossips were hinting that she had gone for good and for bad. 
He cried over the Judge's hand, and promised to be brave. He 
telegraphed to the man with whom he had roomed in Oberlin, 
but whom he had not seen for five years, to meet him in Chicago, 
and they would "have reunion and high old time." 

They met, took a room together at a hotel, and had a dis- 
tressingly dull do-you-remember dinner at the hotel cafe. After 
the first spurt, they could think of nothing to say. 

Vince excused himself. He was expecting a call from Racine, 
from his dear wife, Cerise. He would be back in ten minutes. 
The friend waited half an hour, and went up to their room. The 
window was open, and twelve stories below, on the roof of an 
annex, a ragpile of clothing, was Vincent Osprey. 
' Cerise came to Grand Republic for the funeral, and wept, but 
she caught a train back to Racine that evening, leaving her son 
in the care of her sister. 

She told this sister that she was a modern woman, and just as 
clear-minded as any man. And indeed the young man who met 
her at the station in Racine was nothing like so clear-minded as 
Cerise, who was paying his room-rent. 



350 



48 



FOR CASS, the worst, in the late Northern winter, when the ma- 
licious cold and the ashen skies had gone on too long, when the 
white world was speckled with dirt and the snow was spoiled 
For skiing, was coming home from court to the dusky house that 
was empty of her welcome. Her absence was not a negative 
thing, merely a not-being-there; it was a positive and frightening 
presence, which crept after him and made him turn quickly to 
see her not-being-there. 

He muttered "Jinny?" as he stood in the dark living-room, as 
though she must hear him and come. 

Cleo stoutly accompanied him through the house with her in- 
quiring "Mrawr?" and he talked to her more than to Mrs. Higbee. 
Once, late at night, when he sat in the living-room alone with 
Cleo, he heard her reasonlessly begin to purr, and watched her 
watch an invisible presence in the room. Her eyes clearly fol- 
lowed the unseen figure, to the piano, to the bookshelves, to 
Jinny's chair, rested there, then, with slowly turning head, she 
followed the apparition to the door and, half in terror, Cass 
thought that in the doorway he could see an outline made of air. 

This is bad. Dangerous. I wonder if something could have 

happened to her? I don't believe in this telepathy stuff, but Fve 
got to telephone to her. 

Don't be a fool! 

He felt that he ought to rush out of the house, out of this 
danger, go to a neighbor's, play bridge, anything. But he could 
not endure having to explain Jinny's flight. For. weeks after she 
had gone, he was glad when he was invited to dinner, glad to 
know that he still existed in somebody's affection, yet he always 
refused. Except for public affairs, where he spoke more imper- 
sonally than ever, he dined alone, silent, served by a silent Mrs. 
Higbee, guarded by an attentive Cleo, whose eyes too often 
moved from him to follow again the invisible being that slowly 
entered the room and circled it and vanished. 

It had taken him a fortnight to believe that Jinny actually had 
left him, but as it became contemptuously clear, his state grew 

351 



worse. All evening, trying to escape into the security of Dickens 
and Thackeray and Hardy, half-listening to the radio, he kept 
himself from telephoning to Jinny in Darien. 

At every moment through the evening, always calculating the 
hour's difference in time between Grand Republic and Darien, 
he was conscious of what she might now be doing. He saw her at 
bridge with the Eldermans and a neighborhood widower the 
widower was imaginary, but Cass pictured him and his sticky 
little literary goatee, and hated him. Then there were the eve- 
nings when the Eldermans were out and Jinny was alone. She 
was listening to the same network program as himself, and if he 
disliked it, he still could not turn it off, because she might want 
to hear it. 

He hoped that she was not lonely then, and he wanted to 
speak to her, cheer her, reassure her. He thought of so many 
things about which he really must telephone her such as Cleo's 
casually having kittens but he dared not try, lest he reach only 
Avis Elderman or her stupid husband or a Jinny patiently an- 
swering his solicitude with "Lonely? Of course I'm not. In fact 
we're having a wonderful party. . . . He is here." 

No, no! Surely she would not slap him thus. 

But then she might. He laid down for future generations the 
discovery: "Love does queer things to people." 

His mental dogging of her stopped sharply when his personal 
Guardian Fiend buzzed in his ear, "And now, my boy, she is 
having a little love-making with Bradd, your successor and a 
better man than you." 

He was presently able, in a slowly growing self -discipline, 
to wipe out entirely that picture of them as lovers. He made an 
injunction against thinking of it at all. He did not, however, 
persuade himself that Jinny and Bradd were merely playing 
checkers, or that some day she would raise that lovely face to 
him and say with tender rebuke, "It was you only that I loved, 
all along, and Bradd, whom you so unjustly suspected, is my 
long-lost brother." 

His hope was that Bradd was already cooling toward her, and 
that was at once a vicarious humiliation and a preserving 
promise. After all, Bradd had never seen in her any peculiar di- 

352 



vinity, but only an amusing freshness. Might he not tire of her 
soon? 

He was happiest when the radio played such rustic memories 
as "My Old Kentucky Home" and "Nelly Was a Lady." He could 
see himself as a boy of eighteen with a Jinny aged sixteen, on a 
country hayride in the dusk. They held hands and trusted each 
other, and suddenly they were both of them eighty, on a country 
doorstep in the sun, still holding hands, as true to each other 
as the coursing rhythms of their blood. 

He detested the bland, blond yapping of radio announcers, 
with their new-world litany of cigarettes and liver pills and bean 
soup "yum, goodl" He resented the fact that he was coming to 
resemble the college students who cannot study without the 
narcotic of unceasing radio sound. 

But when he turned it off, the house was too solitary in the 
Northern winter night, too quiet, and he sat listening for Jinny, 
knowing that she would not come, yet forever listening for hei 
footstep, listening and afraid, not knowing of what he was 
afraid, not daring to turn his head, afraid and rigid, while Cleo 
murmured to the invisible passer-by, till he cried aloud and des- 
perately switched on the banal magnificence of a million-dollar 
band that was right out of the jungle via Tin Pan Alley. 

Yet when he remembered that Jinny and he had listened to 
the radio with their arms about each other, relaxed and content 
with love, then the strident gaiety was as intolerable as the 
-menacing silence. 

He took to reading detective stories instead of the history 
which, as the incorrigible Puritan, he felt he ought to read. But 
that was not a soothing dissipation, for after them, in bed, he 
heard from up in the attic, from down in the basement, from all 
round the house, Limehouse cut-throats and international 
agents, and rajahs looking for the idol's eye which he had stolen 
in 1867. He really could hear them, too. 

He thought of her loneliness, as well as his. He thought of all 
the loneliness in the world: 
Of widows who for a quarter-century had depended upon hus- 

353 



bands and noisy children, but were alone now in cottages where 
the clock ticked too loudly. Of more prosperous widows sur- 
rounded by alien chatter on the porches of gilt summer hotels. 
Of young men new to a city, too poor for theaters, desperate in 
furnished rooms. Of other young men, soldiers in strange camps. 
Of young women with a richness of potential love but with no 
prettiness about them, alone in the evening, waiting for a tele- 
phone call that would never come. Of the lookout on a steamer 
long in the fog. Of traveling men plodding in shaky cars from 
country store to store, over the prairie that fled always back from 
them. Of Pullman porters late at night, the passengers sleeping. 
Of rich old men, so rich that they were afraid of all their bobbing 
relatives, invalid and waiting for dawn. Of an old doctor, retired 
now, sitting in his worn chair, knowing only too well what was 
wrong with him. Of kings and watchmen and babies left alone 
to darkness. 

If his travels into pity did not make him the less lonely, they 
did turn his thoughts from himself, and he could endure it again 
to look about the room that was too quick with suggestions of 
Jinny's soft being: the lamp whose purchase had been such a 
triumph; the chessmen that still bore the traces of her fingers. 
He could endure it then, just endure it, as a patient endures the 
heart-jab that did not quite kill him this time and he could 
even endure the sound of a distant train whistle, loneliest and 
loveliest of sounds. 

But whenever the radio was not blatting, he was listening for 
her, hearing her in a sound beyond sound, waiting for her, listen- 
ing for her, stooped and afraid, listening arid afraid, like a man 
in the condemned cell on the last, slow, irremediable night. 

To the public eye and in Grand Republic that eye can be 
quite public he was doing what is known as "bearing up." In 
court, he had never been so quick and sure; and he had never so 
often taken briefs home for study. Perhaps, he thought grimly, 
her absence is very good for my work. 

But he knew that if to others his base seemed solid enough, he 
was out of shape, a figure loose and without pattern. 

He carried on an undeclared feud with Mrs. Higbee about 

354 



eating. He was in a mood to receive sympathy as the lean, suf- 
fering, and vitaminless lover, but, with nothing more than a re- 
buking, "There's some nice lamb chops tonight, Judge, and you 
didn't eat your lovely chicken last night" as her sole maternal 
comment, he got no satisfaction. 

When she brought him an evening highball, Mrs. Higbee still 
used the brass coasters upon which Jinny had insisted, to save 
the mahogany, but when Cass went out to the kitchen, in a dull 
kitchen-shuffle, to get himself a drink which he did not particu- 
larly want, he no longer troubled to bring in a coaster with it, 
and he rested the glass messily on a magazine, which would 
have brought retribution from Jinny. 

He lost, too, the habit of bringing home flowers, and some- 
times, dining alone, he disapprovingly noted his own table- 
manners, his leaning despondently low over his soup-plate or 
sitting with his elbows on the table and dipping his toast in the 
coffee or chasing crumbs about the table. 

As intently as a lonely woman fussing over pantry-sh elves, he 
grew absorbed in watching the whirling islands of bubbles on 
his newly stirred cup of coffee: how handsome some of them 
were, with one vast bubble-mountain in the center, how the 
lesser islands were drawn across the current by the mass of the 
major island, and mystically merged with it. There was the most 
cosmic of tragedies when the great island crashed and dissolved 
against the high porcelain bluffs. 

"I think possibly you're giving too much attention to tho 
geography of bubbles," he noted. 

To the world, he was as proper as ever, yet he saw himself be- 
coming a little queer. He was for a while slovenly about "mak- 
ing this shirt do another day just a little dirt on the collar/' and 
once this fanatical devotee to cleanliness did not shave the 
duskiness of his jaw a second time before going out to a public 
dinner, and once he forgot to brush his teeth before going to bed. 

His next degeneracy was a look into mystic asceticism. He cut 
his cigarettes down to fifteen a day, and felt that God was count- 
ing them and that, as a reward for this abstemiousness, He would 
give back Jinny's love. 



When the ice turned shoddy and went out of Dead Squaw 
Lake, Cass found that he could be most satisfyingly alone in a 
canoe on those chilly waters, and one twilight a man walking 
on the shore incredulously heard the thin complaining of a flute 
out on the lake, saw a canoe with a figure silhouetted on the 
leaden ripples. 

"That fellow must be a left-over Indian, or else he's crazy," 
thought the man. 

When he was both idle and strained, as he often was now 
after court hours, Cass was plagued by tunes that chased round 
and round in his mind, or by "Far on the ringing plains of windy 
Troy" repeating itself, without his volition. Worst mental para- 
site of all, ceaselessly whirling like an electric fan at slow speed, 
was "Silent upon a peak in Darien." That one he had started as 
a wry pun, but before long it had become a recurrent horror, 
and it meant for him only Jinny, in Darien, lying in the silence 
that was death. 

When he heard of Vincent Osprey's suicide, he felt that threat 
menacing himself and, like everybody else now and then, Cass 
wondered, "Am I losing my mind?'* But, like everybody else, he 
did not believe anything of the sort. 

The suicide made him look at his brooding, his own indulgent 
antics, and abruptly quit all that adult childishness. This sen- 
sibleness had its own evils. No longer could the curiously vicious 
forms of mental solitaire divert his mind from the loss of Jinny. 
But he had had enough of the exhibitionism of the hair-shirt of 
morbid love, and when he noticed that he was sloppily leaning 
over his plate at his dinner, he sighed and straightened himself. 

He made himself put away the agonizing memorabilia of Jinny 
still left in the living-room: the photographs of her, the silver 
bowl for roses which she had especially loved, the painting of 
the Sorshay River bluffs not too goodwhich she had made on 
an Indian Summer afternoon. He took to sitting in his tight 
little paneled study, in which there was room only for himself 1 
and Cleo and a portable radio little room for memories. 

But there he could not see her so clearly in his mind, and this 

356 



was tragic to him, and he wondered of what future it might be 
an omen. 

Though he was frozen with waiting for her, Cass was also 
busy with war boards and Republican committees. Sometimes he 
estimated, "I seem to have come out of my fever of wild-eyed 
love. But I'm not too proud of that. I'd rather go really crazy 
than forget her and become free free for what?** 

He was not altogether amused when he discovered that there 
were times when it was pleasant to go to bed just when he 
wanted to, as noisily as he wanted to or as quietly; to order only 
what he liked to eat, and to wear the old brown hat. 

Early May, this year, was not so much spring as a pallid and 
invalid winter, and the shutting down of furnaces, the laying 
away of overcoats, were more conspicuous than any riot of 
flowers. 

Jinny had been gone from him for three months now. 

They had written to each other mechanically, once a week. 
His letters were the most fatiguing documents that he had ever 
struggled over, and the most exact. He must be neither harsh nor 
yet a beggar of love; he must leave her free while trying to trap 
her with anxious cunning. He wrote fully about Cleo, a little 
about his court room and the Drovers. 

Her small notes were equally competent and false and lost 
and pathetic. 

She thought that she would establish residence in Vermont 
for her divorce, but she did not feel well enough yet for that 
effort, and Avis was insisting that she remain in Daricn till she 
was quite sure that she wanted to marry Bradd. ("What?" 
exulted Cass. ) She wrote "Dear Avis/' and Cass could hear the 
fury in it. 

As an inveterate bet ween- the-lines reader, he blissfully con- 
cluded that she was seeing Bradd only under chaperonage, and 
he hoped that she was having a dull time, but just when he was 
sure of it, she wrote about a "gorgeous party that some people 
that live near here pulled, they are great friends of Berg Nord 

357 



as well as Bradd: smart women and amusing men and lyric com- 
posers and playwrites." 

Darling, you never could spell! 

"They were just the kind of exciting people that I told you 
we would meet in and around New York, if we were only 
patient." 

The hell you did, my dear! You said you hated the place. 

"Bradd met all these people through Cousin Berg, whom I 
introduced to him/' 

That is the worst impertinence! It's my Cousin Berg! 

"He is getting to know them so well, they think he is just as 
witty as they are, and we had a terrific time, charades and cook- 
ing at an outdoor grill. 

"I'm afraid I did eat too many pastries and drink too much 
and stay up late, and as a matter of fact, I'm writing this in bed, 
where I'll have to stay for a day or two, not so well, but still it 
was worth it." 

lie was worried to distraction. He wanted to telegraph to her, 
to telephone, but what could he say? Nothing more than the 
advice by which conscientious parents drive their infuriated 
children to lives of vice: "Do take care of yourself/' That he 
must not say. 

So he merely wrote to her air mail: *I assume that after your 
fine party but a little risky, you will, without being told, see that 
you must take care of yourself." 

Her next note frightened him even more. She wrote, in a 
script that was not too steady: 

Cass dearest: 

Cant write much at this time, am still in bed tlio getting 
much better, honestly, don't worry my dear am really being 
sensible this time. I have a good doctor here Dr. Liskett, 
he seems to me much smarter than Roy. He has started me 
in on injections of insulin which, you know, I never had 
before. 

I hate getting jabbed, like a poor trout with a hook but 
the Dr says he is sure before long I can leave them off and 
don't you worry, my dear. 

four bad Jinny 

358 



Then he did telephone to Darien. 

He was told by a glacial butler that Mrs. Timberlane was now 
able to leave her bed, that she was taking a short walk, should 
he give her a message, and what was the nyme, please? 

"No message," said Cass. 

The word Insulin was a signal of disaster. 



49 



FROM THE HEARTINESS with which it sought him out and wel- 
comed him back, once she had gone, he ruefully knew how much 
Jinny had stood between him and his city. He was not at all 
certain that his hope that she would yet really discover and love 
his Grand Republic was not as great as his hope that she would 
again discover and love himself. 

His acquaintances did not say much about the highly pub- 
licized secret of her absence. He would have' liked it if they 
had said more. They forgot her too easily. He wondered, but 
dared not ask, whether even the intimates like Rose and Valerie, 
who had been so easy with her and so chatty, had ever been 
really fond of her. 

Had they considered her too demanding and critical, or had 
they been afraid of some genuinely superior quality in her, or 
neither? It seemed to him that it was one of the most marked 
conditions of her youth that Jinny did not enough prize plain, 
human, neighborly love and desire to be loved; it seemed to him 
one of the faults of these same neighbors that they were not pa- 
tient enough in waiting till Jinny should acquire this humble 
affection along with her more nimble virtues. 

Slowly and shyly the neighbors let him know what they 
thought. 

Judge Blackstaff expressed everything he had to say with a 
clasp of Cass's hand and a stately, antique, "You look well, son; 
I'm glad of it"; and Madge Dedrick, Stella Avondene, the Marls 
and Wargates took imaginary occasion to telephone, "Won't you 
drop in for a drink this evening?" 

They were so kind, he reflected; all his life he wanted to be 

359 



with them and ever nearer. This Grand Republic, neither too 
vast nor too rustic, too formal nor too f rontierlike, was home. 

As was natural for a brooder over betrayed love, at first he 
combined a resentment that nobody ever telephoned to him at 
all with resentment when they did telephone, which was con- 
tinually. When he was invited to dinner, he said nervously, "No, 
no, I can't I'm tied up/* and the moment he had finished tele- 
phoning, he fretted, "Now why didn't I promise to go? I would 
have enjoyed it." 

It was chess which became his surest" refuge. The pure ab- 
stractness of the game was salvation from his thoughts as it 
once had been from the worries of his job. But he had few people 
with whom to play now. He was ashamed to turn again to 
Lucius Fliegend or the Reverend Dr. Gadd, after neglecting 
them so long. Every evening he worked out chess problems by 
himself. 

Once, when Mrs. Higbee came in with firewood, he looked at 
her with an idea. 

"How would you like to learn to play chess, Mrs. Higbee?" 

"No, sir] Too complicated for me." 

She fled. For a while he looked speculatively at Cleo, but 
shook his head. 

Gradually he became easier, and in time he was seen about 
town as much as that popular young semi-bachelor, Judge Tim- 
berlane, had been before he met Jinny Marshland. 

Boone and Queenie Havock, out of their fierce partisanship, 
were the only ones of his hosts who said what they thought. They 
had him in with Roy and Lillian Drover, and their attack was 
launched immediately after dinner. 

They sat in the magnificent and oppressive Havock library, 
with its black-and-white marble floor, walls covered with dark- 
red satin damask, books including the entire library of Sir Ashley 
Ashelburton ( except for such few books as Sir Ashley used to 
read), and the elephantine automatic phonograph, on which a 
Mozart concerto was faintly purring. 

"Judgey," said Queenie, "why don't we get everything out 

360 



from under our belts? Personally, I think you're lucky. I don't 
know whether your wife left you cold or you kicked her out- 
wait, now! and I don't care, but either way, she's no good. She's 
pretty, if you like the skinny kind, and she's smart though not 
half as smart as Boone's new secretaiy, that I think he's trying 
to make, the old false-alarm! But she never appreciated you or 
us. The only kind of guy she ever liked was some mattress- 
acrobat like Bradd or Jay, or some blues-singer like this awful 
jerk Nimbus. 

"Now you're beginning to get over your love-jag, maybe you 
can see that Jinny is as stuck-up and bossy and tricky and grab- 
bing as a monkey. We only accepted her because she was your 
wife. She never had the brains to appreciate your goodness, and 
she never had the brains to see that a couple of two-fisted high- 
binders like Boone and me are twice as interesting as some little 
New York menu-expert. She thinks she knows all the answers 
because one time she read a book. All right, buddy. Now shoot!" 

They looked at him with such affection that he could only 
say, "Queenie, I suppose you were always the meek little wife 
that never raised your voice!" 

"He's got something there," approved Boone. 

Cass said slowly, "All of you have to love her if you love me." 

Lillian, the rarely-speaking, exclaimed, "You see, Roy, as I told 
you, he doesn't just play at loving." 

Roy snorted, "Okay, Cass. If she comes back, we'll admit we're 
wrong. I've done harder things than that for you. I've sat and 
listened to you trying to tell me that politicians ought to be a 
bunch of faith-healers." 



They all laughed, hastily, trying to sound comfortable. 

"And, Cass, don't get us wrong," concluded Roy. "It ain't that 
any of us think we're superior to the girl. We'll all admit that she 
plays mighty fast ball, and that she knows a lot for a girl who 
doesn't know anything. Say, for God's sake, do we play bridge 
or don't we play bridge, that's what I want to know, because if 
things have got so now that when you go out for an evening to 
play bridge, then you never get around to playing bridge, then 
I'm going home and catch some sleep." 

361 



From that best of mothers-in-law, Mrs. Marshland, Cass re- 
ceived only a letter: "We are hoping with you, dear son, that 
Jinny will soon realize that candy does not make the best beef* 
steak." 

One man Cass rather admired, for his imbecile courage. 

John William Pmtt, who had never yet informed a widow that 
he was going to foreclose the mortgage without cordially shak- 
ing her hand, spoke to Cass nervously: 

"Judge, I trust you will forgive me if I am intrusive and im- 
pertinent, but Mrs. Prutt and I have discussed it and we have 
come to the conclusion that you ought to know that the better 
element in the community are all in intense sympathy with you." 

1 appreciate his good intentions, and Queenie's good in- 
tentions, and Jinny's good intentions I wish there weren't so 
many good intentions around here. Thank God, Bradd at least 
has no good intentions. 

He wasjvaguely ashamed, these days, to find out how willingly 
he, who had always praised Bradd, now listened to the familiar 
gossip about him as a trifler and a master of pleasing but shifty 
legal tactics. When Judge Flaaten observed, "I prefer an honest 
crook like Fishberg to a crooked man of virtue like your friend 
Criley," Cass said only an impassive "Well * 

He had thought of his niece Valerie as a little girl. He was 
astonished when the child came calling in the uniform of the 
Women's Army Corps, a soldier and a woman. (Though she 
must have lied about her age by a year or two, to get in. ) She 
attacked martially: 

"Uncle Judge, I'm off to camp, and I felt I had to come and 
tell you that you oughtn't to let Aunt Jinny come back here 
at all." 

"M?" 

"Now I'm in the Army, I got to thinking, and I thought: 
People keep saying there's a new world coming, and women's 
position will change entirely. Well, it's come, and it has changed! 
But there's still ten million dolls like Aunt Jinny, that haven't 
got guts enough to hold down a job or enough patience to study, 
and they think that modernity for women is simply being free 

362 



to skip around with any men they like, and get all the jewelry 
and embroidered linens. 

"I was looking at some photographs of these French guerrilla 
women. They're so self-reliant; they can sleep in caves and live 
on beans. Then I got to thinking about Jinny, and honestly, she 
makes me sick!" 

"Private Pennloss! 1 admire your warrior women though 
there's nothing 'modern' about them; the ancient Teuton women 

were like that, too. But your Aunt Jinny Do you remember, 

few years ago, people said our college students were effete 
never walk anywhere? Those same boys are now fighting in hell. 
And if Jinny ever had to, she could put on breeches and swing 
a rifle over her shoulder and march all night as well as any of 
'em. Better! She had the courage to know what she wanted to 
do, and to do it, and to do it openly!" 

"Why, Uncle Judge, you do love her, don't you! She's lucky, 
and she's an idiot. She hasn't heard there's a war on that for 
women, there's always a war on." 

"Private, I want to see you when you're fifty, and your children 
are blaming your generation for the next war, as your generation 
blames mine." 

"Darling, you're not that old. You're not a generation, you're 
a sweetie. Will you many me if I come home a colonel?" 

"Certainly not. You're too efficient." 

"You wait and see now. These days, you never can tell.** 

But with all these accusers of Jinny, there was one accuser of 
Cass Christabel Grau. 

She came to call on him at home, as informally as Valerie. At 
thirty -five, Chris looked fresh and kind, bright of eye, tender of 
mouth. 

"Just came to see how you arc," she said blankly. 

"This is magnificent, Chris! I was thinking about you last 
evening; what fun we used to have riding our bikes. You used to 
take me seriously. You'd accept all the fake names I used to give 
you for the wild flowers. Let's go up and sit in my study. This 
living-room is too it's too formal." 

As they went up, he was thinking that he had been a fool not 

363 



to have married Chris, the essential woman, the loving and loyal 
wife. Jinny and Blanche, who seemed as different as swallow and 
peacock, were both demanding, both civilly dictatorial, while 
the rich stream of Chris's generosity wanted only to nourish the 
land. Could he ever escape his fatal pattern and be courageous 
enough, original enough, to allow himself to be unharassed? 

He sat her in a red-leather chair facing his own, he gave her 
a cigarette and a drink, and prepared to be cozy. And then Chris 
attacked like a cobra. 

"There's something I have to get off my chest, Cass. I know a 
lot of people are giving you a hand, sympathizing with you be- 
cause Jinny had the sense to up and leave you, but I want y^' 
to know that I don't!" 

"M?" 

"When I first saw her, I was jealous. I used to be quite fond of 
you in fact, I think I might have fallen in love with you, if 
you'd ever been able to make up your mind what you wanted." 

"M?" 

"But then I came to love Jinny. She's only a tiny bit younger 
than I am." 

Eight years, and you know it! 

"But I felt as though she were my baby sister. I was devoted 
to both of you, and I did want you to make a go of this marriage. 
But, Cass, you were so selfish and inflexible with her." 

"M?" 

"The way you used to ride her because she was a few minutes 
late, sometimes. And expecting her to be amused by old stuffs 
like Roy! Simply intolerable!" 

"Chris! I haven't defended myself much, but now I'm going to. 
I have been selfish to other people to Blanche, to you and 
when I think of how I've imposed on my brother judges to get 
off on trips with Jinny, I shudder. But Jinny I've loved com- 
pletely. I've given her everything I had, and I don't see how I 
could give her anything that I didn't have and couldn't get. And 
she knew the kind of smug citizen that she was marrying, and 
she'd met all his smug friends. Nobody fooled her. 

"Since you blame me, let me suggest this doesn't affect my 
love for her, mind you that she might also have tried to make 

364 



the marriage succeed. She might have worked a little on her job 
as a wife. If she was bored by my friends, she might have worked 
a little harder at finding new ones and bringing them here.. I'd 
Ve welcomed them! I married an angel, and I miss her gro- 
tesquely, but I did everything to hold her, short of clipping her 
wings, and you can't do that to an angell" 

Chris had thrown her cigarette at the open fire and was sitting 
on the arm of his chair, stroking his hair. "I do know how you 
miss her, Cass. Maybe what I loved in her was youl" 

He leaned his head against her side, and her stroking hand 
was still. She would love him so generously, now, without 
bars 

He stood up abruptly, breaking the petty enchantment, and 
said, "Let's turn on the radio. Must be time for the Cleveland 
Orchestra." 

He knew what peace and certainty he was gambling away for 
the fantasy he called love. 

That night he thought of Chris too warmly, and he petitioned 
the spirit of Jinny, "Hurry back to me. I don't want to turn to 
Chris, but I could/' 

He remembered that Cleo had made extravagant, rather im- 
modest advances to Chris, though Cleo was no cat-by-night, de- 
pending on charm. She was now twice a mother, progressing to- 
ward being a grandmother. Her more regular husband was re- 
puted to be the John William Prutts* black and white Tom, a 
conservative cat if there ever was one, and Cleo had shown a 
growing conservatism in herself by having her two editions of 
kittens in the most traditional manner in a bureau drawer. If 
Chris had been a cat, she would have had her kittens in a bureau 
drawer, preferably cedar-lined. 

Till now, Cleo had obviously preferred the bodiless appari- 
tions of Jinny to Chris or any other sensible visitor, but she was 
wavering. She allowed Chris to stroke her. 

Did cats forget people? fretted Cass. 



365 



An Assemblage of Husbands and Wives 

NORTON TROCK 

IN so VAST a city as Grand Republic, with so ancient a history- 
going clearly back 20,000 years to the first known traces of In- 
dian occupation there were too many varieties of marriage even 
to index. Stuart Vogel, the county agricultural agent, and his 
wife, a skillful high-school teacher, deserve a whole treatise. 
They met at night, courteous and cheerful, to share in cooking 
the dinner, in reading plays for the next Masquers production. ' 

They had one sort of "modern marriage/' and Norton and 
Isabel Trock another, also modern. 

Before her death, ten years ago, the elder Mrs. Trock often 
said to the other ladies in hotel lounges with tapestries that she 
had proved it was. all nonsense, this offensive contemporary no- 
tion that it was bad for an only son to have a widow mother 
hovering over him. Look at her boy Norton, that neat and hand- 
some young banker. He had been frail, as a boy, and had shown 
the sweetest old-fashioned manners, like a little prince, and so 
neat about hanging up his clothes, yet look at him now: he was 
a fine swimmer, a splendid boxer, a correct duck-shot and all 
the girls were crazy about him. 

Then she died. 

After her death, it was obvious to her older friends that she 
had been right. At forty-eight, Norton was president of the Blue 
Ox National Bank, in which Mr. Boone Havock was chief stock- 
holder. He had two bonny children, and his wife, Isabel, though 
not too bright and not especially pretty, had the same daintiness 
as Norton's mother. 

He had always, since the age of three, called his mother 
"Sweetheart," so that it had become her pet name among the 
choice little set of the more fastidious matrons of Grand Repub- 
lic, who embroidered altar cloths and explained that they were 
of pure English descent. 

Sweetheart's husband had not been popular vdth these ladies. 
He called himself a wholesale chemist, but as a matter of fact 

366 



he was in the liquor business. He was a coarse, red, bristling 
man, without taste in altar cloths. Fortunately he died when 
Norty, as Sweetheart called him, was only five years old, and 
fortunately he left them almost six thousand dollars a year. 

Sweetheart thought of moving to New England or France or 
Fiesole or the Monterey Peninsula, but she could not sell the 
house, like a dark stone prison, which her husband had incon- 
siderately built, and the "wholesale chemist business" needed her 
shrewd eye. 

But Sweetheart and Norty did travel, always the two of them 
together and always first class. They were not lonely, for they 
had each other; they could sit talking, lightly laughing, about 
their fellow-travelers, possibly malicious but always well-bred, 
from after dinner till after midnight. 

She sent Norty to school in Connecticut and to that small but 
thoroughly sound and Christian college, Toplady. She always 
rented a cottage for herself near the institution, and Norty lived 
with her and was spared the coarser associations with the rough 
male students. But she saw to it that he did not fail to become 
manly; she had private teachers for him in boxing, riding, swim- 
ming, tennis, and bridge; and though vulgar competitors hinted 
that he won by nasty little tricks, she crowed that he did win. 
He was also a pianist, and sang French lyrics over which his 
mother, a broad-minded woman, looked shocked but giggled in 
an advanced manner. 

After his college, they had a leisurely two years abroad, 
during which they rode on camels and looked up at but did not 
climb the First Pyramid. For two months they stayed at the 
loveliest pension in Florence, filled with the most cultured in 
American and English womanhood. In Lausanne they met an 
earl. In Canterbury, England, Sweetheart bought a pair of lilac- 
colored kid slippers, with his help, as usual, and they had to 
laugh at the strange affection he had for these slippers. "Do put 
them on, Sweetheart dearest," he begged, almost every evening. 
He preferred them even to her gold slippers. 

He did have the best taste, pointed out Sweetheart. 

For three months they had a flat on the Left Bank in Paris and 
Norty had a friendship with several exiled American poets and 

367 



novelists that was surprisingly vivid, considering how shaggy 
their necks were and how many naughty words they used in the 
books they had published privately. 

Sweetheart watched their capital deftly, and when it was 
diminished to the danger point, Norty and she reluctantly re- 
turned to Grand Republic, to the morose stone house, and he 
started as a clerk in the Blue Ox Bank. He was good. He liked 
figures. They were impersonal and dependable, they partook 
of the divine, and yet they could be mastered as the crude, in- 
appreciative people about him could not be. 

Naturally, his mother and he lived together, while he looked 
for a wife, with the assistance of the love, the industry, and the 
remarkable intuition of Sweetheart. Together they inspected 
every available girl in Radisson County and in the better ( yet 
not too vulgarly rich) sections of St. Paul, Duluth, Winona, and 
Minneapolis. 

He would go earnestly calling on these buds, he would play 
the piano and sing the French songs, and stay till ten, at which 
hour his mother would telephone him, even if it was long-dis- 
tance, to remind him that he had had a headache that afternoon. 

Sweetheart always had the girl candidates at the house, and 
was kind to them, and asked tactful questions about their stand 
on homemade puddings, Republicanism, and the reservation 
of the Host. She had one special test for the chicks. She showed 
them the bowl of shaving soap which she imported from St. 
James's Street, London, for Norty, and if the girl laughed or 
looked puzzled, it was evident that she was a crude provincial. 

The young ladies always failed to snare Prince Charming. 
Without his mother being so intrusive as to point it out, Norty 
saw for himself that they could never be counted on to warm his 
pajamas or scrape the mud off his shoes or go out in the kitchen 
and cook guinea hen or listen to his reading aloud of Ronald 
Firbank, as Sweetheart could. 

Some dozens of girls proved unfit. Norty said, "Sweetheart, I 
think this whole country has become coarsened and vulgarized. 
Democracy is all right as an ideal, but why must all the young 
ladies today be so ribald and impertinent? There aren't any 
more girls like you, dearest/* 

368 



"I'm afraid that's true, but let's not give up hope," said Sweet' 
heart. 

"Oh, 1 just don't care one bit about any of them!" Norty cried 
petulantly, and kissed her. 

They remained together all evening, every evening. They were 
invited to dinner together. Norty grew not older; he could 
never, in the lulling spell of Sweetheart's tenderness, grow older, 
but he did grow less young. Sweetheart sometimes said (but 
laughingly) that he seemed a little bald, and his waistcoat ( not 
his "vest" ) was more robin-like. He chuckled once, and said that 
he was catching up to her in age. Some day he would be able 
to marry her. 

Sweetheart thought that was sweet of him, but she worried 
over it for a couple of days, then hinted, Sorry, but wasn't that 
remark possibly in bad taste? 

He almost cried. 

Each year he was neater. He trained Ed Oleson to cut his hair 
more precisely; his trousers hung even better; there was less 
danger of anyone finding a cigarette crumb on his sleeve; and to 
take care of the long-vexing, often-discussed question of how to 
keep shoelaces and black dress-ties really neat in his top highboy 
drawer, Sweetheart and he spent two week-ends building an in^ 
tricate nest of tiny cardboard compartments, which she lined 
with gold tea-chest paper, kissing each one as she finished it. 

"Imagine finding any young woman who would give such at- 
tention to my needs!" he shrieked. 

"Oh, don't say that!" she said, with satisfaction. 

She was tireless in trying to coax him out of his moods of vio- 
lent depression which seemed to increase every year. 

She died quickly, of an embolism, in his arms. 

It was thought by his friends who happened, most of them, 
to be women of his mother's age and understanding that Norty 
would go mad. 

Dr. Roy Drover coarsely advised him to "marry the first cutie 
that makes a grab at you when you tickle 'em." Norty was not 
offended by Dr.- Drover's masculine brutality, as you might have 
expected. Indeed, he came into the doctor's office frequently. 

369 



and invited him to the house for a drink. The clumsy doctor was 
embarrassed by these offers of friendship, and growled, "Say, 
I'm. not a nosy psychiatrist that wants to hang' around his pa- 
tients," and the justly offended Norty cut him off. No, sir, Drover 
might beg all he wanted to, but he was finished with the dull oaf. 

After some weeks Norty found an aide and companion: Larry 
Drome, a large young man who had been a truck-driver, police- 
man, soldier, sailor. He had once been imprisoned for burglary, 
but that had been a mistaken-identity case, explained Larry. 

Pie became Norty's chauffeur, valet, and companion at gin- 
rummy. Together they took motor trips into the Arrowhead 
forest, and shared a cottage. Someone said that he had seen them 
together in Los Angeles, and that Norty was introducing his 
handsome friend as "Major Drome," but that was probably a lie. 
You know how small-city people talk. 

But the talk spread, like honey on your wrist. 

The directors of the Blue Ox National, particularly Mr. 
Havock, thought well of Norton Trock as a banker. He was first 
vice-president now, in charge of personnel and of loans. He 
picked careful assistants, and he could refuse a loan, or call one, 
with tact. They wanted to make him president, but they were 
perturbed by rumors, probably spread by his rivals. 

Mr. Havock had never heard of Krafft-Ebing or Stekel, but 
he had run construction-camps filled with hoboes, ex-convicts, 
and mess boys. While he had never been educated into the his- 
tory of Greek and Roman culture and morals, also he had never 
been educated out of a knowledge of hobo culture and morals. 
He had Norty for dinner, along with Isabel Avondene, cousin 
of Stella. He had noted that Isabel looked rather like Sweet- 
heart. After dinner, when the two men were alone, with cigars 
and bootlegged white mule, which Boone preferred to brandy, 
as being stronger, Boone spoke: 

"Nort, we want you to be president of the Blue Ox. But we 
have to have a man who is a church member and a family-man 
you know, beyond criticism. Why don't you marry Izzy Avon- 
dene?" 

"I don't know that I " 

"You heard me!" 

370 



Norty wanted to be a sound husband. He sent his chauffeur, 
Larry a rough fellow who might have offended his virginal 
wife off to live in a boarding-house. Isabel and he had bed- 
rooms at opposite ends of a rather long corridor, but he did go 
in to see her, nervously but politely. 

They acquired two children in four years, but after that Norty 
never again entered her bedroom, and he found it was "just too 
ghastly inconvenient for poor Larry to tramp through all that 
snow before he drives me to the bank in the morning/' He in- 
stalled Larry again in an attic room of his large house, and again 
went off canoeing with him. 

Isabel consulted Dr. Drover, who was cross. 

"Doctor, I loathe talking about such intimate tilings, but I 
think I'm going a little crazy. I have such improper thoughts and 
I don't seem to be able to control them, and I've tried to talk 
with our rector, but he isn't of much help. My husband never 
uh he never comes near me any more at night, I mean. He's 
always so nice and pleasant and he seems quite fond of me, and 
he's so good about playing with the children and entertaining 
my relatives and so on, but 1 do miss something." 

"Did you uh did you enjoy it when when he used to come 
to you?" 

"I was beginning to, Tin afraid/* 

"I'm not a mental doc, Isabel. I much prefer what surgery I 
can get. But I can tell you this : Don't worry. You women never 
understand how hard we husbands work, and it's just that Nort 
gets all tired out, slaving away in that big bank, and so he hasn't 
he hasn't much left for you. Uh. He'll be all right again when 
the pressure lets up. Now skip along, and don't be so impatient 
with the poor fellow." 

When she had gone, Dr. Drover thought, "Poor fellow, rats! 
Poor girll Nothing I can do. Wonder if these Chicago sex-sharks 
do really know anything? I must ask some time, when I'm at a 
medical convention/' 

Unlike Bernice Claypool, Isabel Trock could not frisk with 
Bradds and lusty farmhands. After all, she was an Avondene! 
Whenever she was distressed by lewd thoughts, she prayed. It 

371 



did not seem to help. So, from having too little of natural human 
sinfulness, she became as pale and bewildered and hermit-like as 
the oracular doctor's wife, Lillian, from having too much. 
But Norty was blithe and rosy. 



372 



50 



CASS WAS WORRIED by the pointless possession of two houses. He 
could not give up the new houseit was hers but as spring 
grudgingly came on and he took long walks, he was only too 
much attracted by Bergheim. He liked to go into that shuttered 
cavern and sit there, thinking about this whole madhouse of love. 

We're so civilized now that we can kill our horrid enemies 

year-old children two hundred miles away, but nobody except 
a few rather loveless professors has even begun to understand 
love. Compared with our schools and churches, which are sup- 
posed to instruct our emotions, the shabbiest business, even ad- 
vertising whisky, has been magnificent in its competence and 
integrity. 

In the future of married life, will men have to let their 

wives have as many lovers as they want? The men will hate it; 
I would hate it, bitterly. Yet all these ages women have hated 
their men making love to the gigglers. They've had to endure it. 
Is it our turn now? I don't like it. But what has that to do with it? 

Will the world ever be truly civilized? We always assume 

so, but will it? Could any caveman be more blundering than 
this Judge Timberlane, who loses his one love to a fancy-footing 
shyster named Criley? 

If the world ever learns that it knows nothing yet about 

what keeps men and women loving each other, then will it have 
a chance for some brief happiness before the eternal frozen night 
sets in? 

You cannot heal the problems of any one marriage until 
you heal the problems of an entire civilization founded upon 
suspicion and superstition; and you cannot heal the problems of 
a civilization thus founded until it realizes its own barbaric 
nature, and realizes that what it thought was brave was only 
cruel, what it thought was holy was only meanness, and what it 
thought Success was merely the paper helmet of a clown more 
nimble than his fellows, scrambling for a peanut in the dust of aa 
ignoble circus. 

373 



Thus brooding, remembering Jinny in airy dressing-gown 
scampering through the gloom of Bergheim, remembering such 
magnificent trivialities as their supping in the kitchen on scram- 
bled eggs, sadly finding on the back of the coat-closet door the 
gay angels that Jinny had drawn in gold and scarlet, he was 
apprehensive under the black spell of the house. 

Abruptly, late in May, he committed patricide and sold it. 

He sold it to a Scandinavian Lutheran church organization 
for an "old folks' home/' He hoped that the old folks might be 
quiet there and trustful, and outlive the belief that God was 
always a man in the dreary black of a Scandinavian preacher. 

He went for the last look at Bergheim. Admitting that he was 
sentimental about it, he took Cleo along, for her final pilgrimage 
to that Viking paradise of desperate mice. But Cleo did not like 
it now. She kept close to Cass, upstairs and down and into the 
basement, where the Judge, who was a householder as well as 
a poet, wanted to see again one of the finest oil-furnaces his 
skilled eye had ever caressed. 

They came out on the porch. While he was locking the door, 
the little cat frisked across the lawn. 

Cass heard a barking, and swung round in agitation to see two 
dogs and some boys chasing Cleo over the grass. Before he could 
yell, the dogs had trapped Cleo between them. One of them 
seized her, its long teeth crushing her fragile ribs. It tossed her 
into the air, and then the other dog pounced. 

Running frantically, almost choking the dog who held Cleo, 
Cass tore the mangled body from him, and held it to his chest. 

The little cat half turned her head as if to try to look up at 
him; then blankness went over her small face, and she was dead. 
The tall man, like a Sioux chief, plodded to his car holding tight 
the bleeding body. He was deaf; he could not hear the small 
boys wailing apologies. As he walked, he was crying. 

He drove home to what had become home now, garish and 
unloved with one hand on the wheel and the other holding 
the light body of the cat, dripping blood on him. Expressionless, 
he drove the car into the garage, took up a spade, hefted it, and 
buried the body, so tiny and unrecognizable, under a rosebush. 

374 



He walked into the house and upstairs. He changed his clothes 
and brought the stained suit down to Mrs. Higbee. 

"Will you have this dry-cleaned, please? It's all over blood. 
Some dogs killed Cleo. Cleo is dead. Some dogs killed her. I 
buried her." 

"Oh, Judge, it seems like God is taking everything away from 
us!" 

He did not listen. He was trapped in a thought that he knew 
to be superstitious, but he could not help linking Jinny to the 
dead Cleo. He could not resist. He tramped to the telephone and 
dictated a wire for Jinny, in Darien : 

Dear Jin, letter from you overdue, am worried, wire if you 
are all right, love. 

He did not expect an answer till the next day, but that eve- 
ning he dared not stir from the house, and at a little after ten 
he was called by Western Union. 

"This the Judge? Day -letter, signed Jinny, from Darien, Con- 
necticut. Shall I read it to you? All ready? It's fairly long: 

Goody this gives me chance annoy my nurse and Avis who 
might stop me but out of house for dinner. Got sick of 
having nurse nagging me take my insulin she worse than 
you ever were darling so laid off injections three days and 
on bat of candy in New York what a fool I was am back in 
bed doctor seems worried wish you were here to tuck me 
in things like this did riot happen when with you but 
honestly would you think four cream puffs equal to one 
wagonload arsenic love love. 

Cass did not smile. He thought for not more than a minute. 
He called Judge Blackstaff : 

"Steve, I'm truly sorry but I must leave for New York to- 
night, by car. Life and death. Will you phone George Hame for 
me and take over? Thanks." 

He called Alex Snowflower, Sheriff of the county: 

"Sheriff? Cass Timberlane. I've got to be in Chicago, to catch 
a plane East, tomorrow morning. Can you do something illegal 
and get one of your deputies or somebody with enough gas to 
get me there?" 

375 



"You bet your life I will, Judge. I'll drive you myself. You'll 
get there." 

"Awfully grateful. We want to make sure we won't get 
stopped, though. I've got to be there!" 

"Well be there. I'd like to see any Wisconsin cop halt Judge 
Timberlane and the high sheriff of Radisson County 1 Expect me 
at eleven/* 

Cass telephoned to Chicago, to a judge of consequence, who 
promised that by some means, preferably legal, he would have 
a seat for him on the morning airplane to New York. 

All this time, Cass had been thinking about telephoning to 
Darien. lie could hear himself, only too clearly, bullying the 
unpleasant butler, then demanding of Avis how Jinny was; hear 
himself saying with impressive briefness, "I'll be there to- 
morrow, about noon'*; hear Avis floundering, "I don't know that 
it would be convenient to have you come just now/' 

No. What he was really afraid of was that Avis would say 
that Jinny was dead. He did not telephone to Darien. 

Mrs. Higbee was lurking in the kitchen. When he plunged 
in with "I'd like three or four sandwiches in a box, and some 
very hot coffee in the thermos," she worried, "You look awful 
fierce and wild, Judge. You going to her?" 

"Yes." 

She said nothing more. 

Sheriff Snowflower came blasting up to the house ten minutes 
before his promised time. Cass went out to him quietly. They 
shook hands, saying nothing, and the Sheriff started off through 
the decorous city streets at fifty miles an hour, which he in- 
creased to an unswerving seventy as soon as they had come to 
the end of Chippewa Avenue an empty gray shell by night. 
They crossed the Big Eagle River, soared to the top of the bluffs, 
and headed southeast, for St. Croix Falls, on the Old North 
Military Road. 

Cass had the familiar illusion that the countryside, unreal 
with night, was running past them, trees charging at them, a 
hamlet of ten houses hastily erected while they were coming up 
and hurled at them, road curves swinging round to avoid them, 

376 



while they sat secure in this small, dark control-room, motion- 
less, the center of the world. 

The more rapidly they drove, the more bulkily quiet was the 
Sheriff. They were formal with each other at first. Though they 
were neighbors in the court house, they knew each other only 
on county business. At the start, it was "I hear Mrs. Timberlane 
is kind of ill, Judge; well get you to her, all right," and "Thank 
you, Sheriff," but they were both good farmers at heart and 
good Middlewesterners and first-name-users, and after a hun- 
dred and fifty miles it was "111 tell you, Cass; I know Jinny has 
got my Mildred skun forty ways for looks and brains, but me, 
I like a plain wife that's a bearcat on kids and dumplings," and 
"No, I'll argue with you about that, Alex; youVe also got to 
think of what a wife wants for herself." 

Twice they stopped, and Cass was astonished to see an alk 
night lunch, materialized out of darkness and actually standing 
still, not rushing past them, astonished to learn how stiff he was, 
as he eased himself out of the car. Ten minutes later, the place 
was gone, lost back in the country that had been annihilated 
behind them, and he could not remember what he had eaten. 

Always he strained his eyes ahead, imagining, even a hundred 
miles from Chicago, that he saw the city's glow. Yet when rows 
of green-roofed suburban bungalows began to flow past, then 
factories and wooden tenements and street cars, he felt that he 
had been lifted up and instantly put down here. 

He caught his plane, he slept all the way to New York, his 
taxicab hurried into the Grand Central Terminal, and just be- 
fore one o'clock he was ringing the bell at Avis Elderman's large 
yellow house in Darien. 

The butler, small but swelling with superciliousness, opened 
the door and said "Yes?" 

It occurred to Cass that the man did not recognize him, per- 
haps did not know that he existed; that he looked dusty and dis- 
arrayed; that no one in the house knew that he was coming. But 
it also occurred to him that a few feet away was his Jinny. 

He said impatiently, "I'm Mr. Timberlane/' 

"Yes?" 

"Damn it, Judge Timberlanel" 

377 



Everyone on that floor must have heard. Avis popped into 
sight, down the hall, and the expression on her face indicated 
only that it was very inconvenient to have strangers coming in 
just before lunchtime. 

He did not so much push the butler aside as blow him away 
with the explosiveness of his "Avis! Jinny?" 

"Oh, yes, Cass. Well no she isn't very well." 

"But what " 

"She is iu a coma/* 

"Does that mean ?" 

"Not always, our doctor says. Not with insulin. But it's 
serious. He brought her out of one coma, but well, she's more 
in kind of a daze now than a real coma. She keeps coming to, 
and complaining oh, not exactly complaining, perhaps, but 

It's very hard on the household, 1 must say, after all we've 

done!" 

"I'm going up to her." 

"I don't know that that would be " 

"You heard mel Where is she?" 



51 



THE UPPER HALLWAY was heavy with oak and dark-brown velvet 
window-curtains. It was as ostentatiously modest as a funeral 
parlor. 

When Cass opened her door, there loomed up, to bar him, 
Dr. Liskett, a plump, disapproving man with eyeglasses, grunt- 
ing, "What is it?" 

"I'm Jinny's husband." 

"Whose husband? Look. If you'll just wait downstairs ** 

"Get out of the way!" said Cass. 

The doctor simply disintegrated, in the too-mahoganized 
room, and Cass was facing the too-ponderous bed in which he 
incredulously saw his Jinny, her face seeming as tiny as Cleo's, 
among the great pillows. As he went nearer, she was slowly 
opening her eyes, and she feebly held up her arms to him, with 
a weak but exultant, "Oh, Cass, my darling!" 

378 



Her eyes filmed over again. Her arms, too thin and anemic, 
dropped, and she seemed to have gone. 

"Doctor!" Cass muttered. 

The man was there, more attentive. 

"She'll come out of it again. She's in kind of an intermittent 
mild delirium, with moments of entire lucidity. Sometimes her 
mind wanders you know, wool-gathering but sometimes she 
knows me perfectly, and I'm sorry to say that then she isn't 
entirely polite. You must excuse me for not welcoming you. I 
didn't realize who you were, when you first " 

"Has she a chance?" 

"I think so. I brought her out of coma with insulin, and I 
believe I have the sugar controlled. She might live five months 
or five years or fifty, depending entirely on how well she obeys 
my injunctions/* 

"From now on, she's going to obey entirely!" Cass said grimly. 

"And depending on whether she really wants to live." 

"I'll see that she wants to live, now." 

"Well, I'll just leave you two together, and be back in a couple 
of hours. Her nurse is downstairs having her lunch. She'll be 
right back. She knows all about the insulin and everything 
you can trust her in fact, she's my sister-in-law. I hope you'll 
be satisfied. See you soon, see you soon!" The sunbeam into 
which the suspicious physician had now turned withdrew its 
light from the room. 

When the nurse came in, Cass did not even see her. He was 
sitting rigid, watching Jinny's restless drowsing. He was angrily 
fretting, "If she only had a real doctor, like Roy. That chintz- 
covered fellow here just got interested in me when he realized 
I'll be paying his bill. For Jinnij to have a medical rabbit like 
that!" 

The nurse looked once at Cass and sat down in appreci^- 
tive silence. 

Jinny moved, then lifted again out of her muted delirium. Sh 
smiled at him, and he sat awkwardly on the bed, pillowing 
her head on the crook of his arm. She spoke clearly, at first: 

"Dearest, take me out of here. I want to see our house. I want 
to see Cleo and Isis. And Rose and Valerie and Roy. And Chris. 

379 



I don't like these people here. Not any of them. No. I kept 
wondering when you would come and take me back home." 

She slipped into a half -delirium. She thought that they were 
in Pioneer Falls, on a picnic, and there was no color but rose, 
no time save youth, in the misty fourth dimension in which she 
was wandering. 

"I love cocoanut layer cake; it is very superior, don't you 
think? Do they have any in Paris? 

"Maybe I can go there to Paris with Cass. He is very bright. 
He knows everything and he isn't afraid of anything. We would 
go there and sit at a cafe and talk all day, and if I were scared 

of all those French people Do the kittens and dogs in Paris 

understand French? 

"This path leads to a shady place under the birch trees, and 
I sat there beside him on the moss, and there was a patch of 
clover out in the bright sun, and we could see a meadow mouse, 
the tiniest thing but so wise and spry, and I wouldn't like to 
die, I can't die and go off into darkness before I sit there with 
Cass again and look at a field mouse, so small and wise 

"Bradd doesn't like sick people. Once I didn't either, they 
bored me and they smelled funny, I just liked them lively 
and doing things and that's how Bradd is, but Cass would keep 
the bats' wings away, he's so serious with his damn books but 
he would protect me, and how could I die now, when I'm just 
learning how to live?'* 

A mumbling, and then she was conscious, asking weakly, "Am 
I talking nonsense? I sort of hear myself. Am I silly, and disap- 
pointing you, after so long away? You know, it's hard to die 
with much dignity/* 

"Don't!" 

"No, I won't die. I think maybe I would have, if you hadn't 
come. I have been a fool! I was young but not that young! 
I do know a little better now. Quicksilver people like Bradd 
slide away from you so. Take me away from here, Cass, please 
do!" 

"I will!" 

"As soon as you can. And then well be happy pretty happy. 
If you can just manage to hold onto me for one more year, only 

380 



one year, Cass, I'll learn. Hold me close. They come in here 
and stare at me and wonder if I'm dead, or if they will have 
to go on having me here. Hold me!" 

Her head was pressed against his arm as she again vanished 
into danger. She was so still that he thought that had been hef 
last beseeching cry. 

The nurse came from nowhere, felt Jinny's pulse, nodded 
with "She's ah 1 right, sir." 

Then Bradd Criley was in the room. 

He came in with the hasty air of having just arrived from the 
city and, immediately afterward, the highly uncomfortable air 
of not having been told that Cass was here. 

Cass stood up. He passionately wanted to do three things: 
to be an honorable judge, to have Jinny love him, and to kill 
Bradd Criley. He rapidly compromised. He decided merely to 
hit him. He could feel himself slapping Bradd, like a righteous 
schoolmaster; he could feel his fingers smack against that suave 
and treacherous cheek. His arm flew up, but he heard the voice 
of his law-school dean: "The essence of the law is that the 
sweets of private vengeance shall be denied.** 

He said to Bradd, "Oh, get out/' 

Bradd got. 

Cass's fury was ruined then by a cheerful thought, the first 
one he had had in many days : the thought of how impertinent 
he had been in kicking Bradd out of this room in his sister's 
house. He turned to the bed, hoping for appreciation of the 
ribaldry of the thing and he got it! 

Jinny was smiling, trying to speak. Bending over, he heard 
her whisper, "I'm sorry you didn't sock him! That's the only 
thing I dislike about you: you're so blasted patient. He needs 
hitting, he does. Why, Cass, he's a heel!" She had a pale, self- 
congratulatory smirk at this huge discovery, but it softened to 
tenderness. "So irritatingly noble. But, darling, I would have 
died, if you hadn't come. I really am yours now, Cass/' 

Then, after minutes of drowsy rest, "Do you think less of me 
because Bradd has turned me down him and his sweet sister? 
He's been trying to sneak out of love gracefully, and that's so 

381 



hard to do. Can you still like me, now that you know I'm just 
a poor thing, that couldn't hold even a Bradd? I do love you 
now. Am I too late? I have learned but why did I have to pick 
such an expensive teacher and take all the extras? Dear single- 
minded Cass!" 

It had taken her two dragging minutes to get through this 
voluminous speech, while Cass stroked her hand and sometimes 
hesitatingly kissed it, and the nurse knitted in a corner and 
clucked with approval. 

Jinny relaxed then in her first natural sleep. 

Yes, said Dr. Liskett, what his patient most needed was 
rest and quiet, and he seemed to feel some strain here in this 
house. ( The doctor got around a lot, and saw things. ) Yes, it 
might be better for Mrs. Thnberlane to be transferred, by 
ambulance and only seven miles away, to that charming Pleas- 
ant Air Inn on the Sound, so comfortable and the prices so 
reasonable. She need not be dressed, and the nurse and doctor 
would go right with her. Oh, gladly. 

Unscrupulously, Cass wrapped her in the indignant Elderman 
blankets and quilt. But he did not, as he wanted to, leave for 
Avis a note: "Kindly send bill for wife's board & room to C. 
Timberlane." 

Neither he nor Jinny saw any kind of Elderman or Criley as 
they left. 

In the month during which they stayed at the Inn and Jinny 
became well enough to walk for ten minutes at a time, Cass 
telephoned long-distance to Judge Blackstaff, offering to resign 
his deserted post, and was answered, "Don't be silly, son. Come 
back to us, come back home, when you can. We miss you and 
uh we miss your wife., Good luck!" 

His chessmen had been sent on from Grand Republic, along 
with his clothes, and for chess partners he found a clergyman, 
a Polish shoemaker, a schoolboy and Jinny. 

"You know/' said Jinny, half -puzzled, half-merry, "I think 
Avis was even more bothered by having to fuss over a diabetic 

382 



diet for me, and maybe the cook would quit, than over mv 
relationship to Bradd. But I'm sure she kept worrying, 'Why 
does my brother want to marry a semi-invalid a diabetic?' " 

It was revealed to Cass, shockingly, that Bradd had never 
wanted to marry her; that he had been as resentful as his sister 
at being trapped into anything so permanent; and that, jusl 
now, he was probably relieved at being rid of her. 

In a fortnight, Jinny was strong enough for the inevitable 
peace treaty. 

She worried, "You honestly do love me, after Bradd?" 

"What has that to do with my loving you? I hated it, I loathed 
it, but that didn't change the shape of my nose or my heart. 

'I'm not really the little thrush you thought I was. I'm a 
good deal of a vixen, don't you think?" 

"Yes." 
' "Oh! . . . Oh, do you?" 

"Yes." 

"But then " 

"I told you: what has that to do with my loving you?** 

"Oh." 

"What we have to discuss is : Naturally, I want you to come 
home to Grand Republic with me." 

"And I want to." 

"But you'll have to reconcile people; not just Boy and Boone, 
but even Bose and Valerie. And Mrs. Higbee. Don't be superior 
like Bradd. She gave you as much of her life as you would 
take, and you took quite a bit. Do you think you can stand work- 
ing at winning back these people, of whom you didn't think too 
highly in the first place?" 

"I guess that after being lost in these Eastern crowds, so in- 
different, I want to go some place where they love you enough to 
hate you if you don't love them. I'll try. 1 will. Oh, Cass, I can't 
say I'm sorry for everything I did. I couldn't help it. But it is 
all over now. Can you stand it even if I can't make myself all 
dramatic and repentant?" 

"I can/' 

383 



Jinny had no chance against the ancient wisdom of Mrs. 
Higbee. When they arrived at the house, that clairvoyant was 
as cheerful and casual as if they had merely gone to Pioneer 
Falls for the day. Rose Pennloss and Frank Brightwing and 
Judge Flaaten met them at the train, and in the house were 
flowers from the Havocks, the Drovers, the Blackstaffs, and 
Sheriff Alex Snowflower. 

To its fugitive children, Grand Republic will forgive almost 
anything if they will but come back home. 

When she had suddenly kissed Mrs. Higbee, when she had 
exclaimed over the flowers, Jinny said gleefully, "Now Cleo. 
Where is that darn animal, bless her?" 

Cass went cold. At the Pleasant Air Inn, he had lied about 
Cleo, but he reluctantly told her now. 

Jinny broke, 'It was me that killed her, by deserting her/' 

He sent her off to bed with what empty comforts there are 
for grief. 

Next morning, there were eleven invitations for Judge and 
Mrs. Timberlane to come to cmmer, cocktails, trout-fishing, 
sailing on Dead Squaw Lake. To his tactful telephonic refusals, 
eleven hosts or hostesses answered, "Still sick? Oh, the poor 
girl! Give her my love, Cass." 



52 



THAT WAS A particularly hot summer in the Sorshay Valley, 
and Cass and Jinny, keeping close, built up such a community 
of unimportant interests that he sometimes forgot that she had 
been away. And, save that she had the annoyance of diet and 
insulin injections, and had to be in bed by ten, they often for- 
got that she was ill. They were bound together by the discus- 
sion of Mayor Stopple's political ideals, of why the chickens from 
the Superba market were so tough, and all the other epic 
insignificances of a pleasant life. 

The long, serene Indian Summer was carnival. The hills were 
extravagant as with Chippewa head-dresses and the far smoke 
from Chippewa fires. The sky had the curious and innocent 

384 



blue of the North Middlewest, and the air such cheerfulness 
that Jinny was filled with renewed joy and submitted to Cass 
an idea about one just one party with dancing till midnight. 

"No cocktails, no midnight sun," he said, "and don't coax. 
You're to be in bed by ten even if I have to carry you." 

She was only mildly sad about it, just enough to assert her 
non-existent independence, and he discovered that he had made 
a psychological advance. He did not woriy about that sadness. 
Once, when she had complained that she "didn't have much 
fun," he had felt guilty, but now he reassured himself that most 
sick girls and most judges over forty do get along without much 
riotous fun. 

Possibly both of them would yet grow up. 

They walked beside the lake, with an autumnal sunset like 
a burning forest over the crinkled and lapping water, on which 
the rowboats stirred and whispered. 

When they came home, Jinny was summoned to the tele- 
phone, and she returned from the call half-exasperated and half- 
amused, to hurl at Cass, "The persistence of the amorous male!** 

"M?" 

"That was Fred Nimbus, our radio friend. Jolly old Fredl 
Hears I'm much better ready to be put into circulation, and 
would I like to have him call around some afternoon?" 

They were side by side on the glazed chintz of the glider, 
on the screened porch. She reached for his hand, and she 
sounded frightened: 

"When I think what his call probably means, I'm scared. Have 

I a reputation here for being a fast woman, merely .because I 

Well, I can see how I might. Have I?" 

He lied as well as he could. 

She had always been reticent about her feelings, but now she 
brought them out anxiously: 

"I do want to try and tell you how You've been waiting 

to have me say that I'm sorry for going off with Bradd. Haven't 
you?" 

"Well, if you want to/' 

"And I am sorry, terribly sorry, for having hurt you. But I 

385 



can't honestly say I'm sorry I knew Bradd. He gave me the 
education such a bitter education it was, but so thorough 
that you'd had before I ever saw you." 

"I don't understand." 

"I told you once long ago but you didn't listen that I've 
always been jealous of your experiences with Blanche and 
Chris/' 

"Oh, not Chris!" 

"Sure. She's a woman of character. She may get you yet, 
and maybe that would be a very good tiling for you. Just let 
her try itl . . . But it was your life with Blanche that maddened 
me. She shared your first love, your first wandering, your first 
house. You gave her your first eagerness. Even if you did come 
to hate her, you learned what it was all about with her. But I'd 
never had anybody but you. How could I size up life, size up 
even you? I thought maybe with Bradd, it would be a new 
world. Well, it was. A horrible one, but thrilling. And then 
being with Bradd made me appreciate you. 

"He's so grasping in his lively way. He takes so much that 
finally I saw that I'd always been taking from you, and not 
trying to give much. I will now. I will try. I'm poor in spirit 
now, but I will give what I have. But if I've learned that, how 
can I be sorry for anything that happened?" 

"You're not poor in spirit. You're so rich * 

"And that's the other thing your worst fault. You praise me 
too much. You inform the world and me that I'm the greatest 
beauty, the smartest draftsman, the slickest tennis-player since 
Leonardo da Vinci, and will I please show my paces. I can't 
live up to it. When you advertise me so much, it makes me 
perverse; it makes me want to be vicious. 

"But All these words! I have no skill in them. I just wanted 

to say that I did have to learn about myself, and I know it almost 
killed me, as it hurt you, but you brought me back to life, you 
keep me living, you are my life." 

She cried a little, and in their kiss her love seemed to be 
utterly restored. 

They had been living like brother and sister. He had not even 
hinted of love-making. He did not know whether he was fatuous 

386 



or noble in not demanding His "rights." With Jinny, he felt as 
much as ever that he had no rights, only privileges. 

That night, with his breath in a harsh rhythm not so unlike 
sobbing, he went into her room, and in the bedside light she 
stretched out her arms with a passionate "Dear, dear love!" 

He still did not quite believe it, but when he lay beside her, 
she murmured, "We've found each other again, sweet! I don't 
know how I ever strayed. How could I? Now, I am sorry, I am 
repentant, I do love you!" 

Every bond of caution was broken. It was very sweet. 

It was sweet until he realized that she had been cheating 
for generosity's sake, that she could not really respond to him. 
She was trying to and failing. He was humiliated a moment. 
Then he was grateful. He said tenderly, "You've been brave 
and wonderfully kind. But you're still shut off from me, aren't 
you? You still haven't got Bradd quite out of your system. 
Don't be afraid to tell me. He still holds you?" 

"I'm afraid so. Though I detest him. He's so ruthless. But 
maybe that made him a good teacher. Wouldn't it be strange 
if he taught me to give, by his never giving anything! Then 
this miserable business I know it was that now it won't all 
have been a waste. Can that be?" 

"I think so. Jinny! If you're ever moved by your own self, by 
your own desire, to come to me, I'll be waiting. Will you, when 
you feel like it? Will you remember?" 

"I shall remember." 

"And I won't overpraise you any more." 

"Now look! You needn't be a fanatic about it!" . 

They were cheerful at dinner, the next evening. Jinny volun- 
tarily announced that there were times when she did not mind 
these messes of green vegetables. 

"Not more than having your teeth pulled?" 

"Not much more," she asserted. 

After dessert a bread-pudding in which Cass said there was 
merit, and Jinny said Yes, but not much else Mrs. Higbee 
placed on the table a teapot-cover: no cups, just the pink quilted 

387 



tent. They gaped at her, and she stood expressionless. They 
looked at the cover, and it was moving, by itself. 

Jinny snatched it up, and beneath it was a little black kitten, 
all black, midnight black, cocky and independent and purring 
and kneading with its paws. 

It is it is Cleo!" cried Jinny. She put out her hand and 
the kitten rubbed against it, and glanced over at Cass for ap- 
plause, in Cleo's old familiar way. 

Mrs. Higbee said indulgently, "It's Cleo's own granddaugh- 
ter. I got her off the Prutts' cook. Only, I feel like it's Cleo her- 
self. You can't kill people like her, not for keeps." 

Jinny smoothed the kitten, while Cass wondered, "Is this an 
omen that even our Emily may return and we'll have made the 
greatest human journey in a circle back to the innocence with 
which we began?" 

When Jinny set the kitten down, it stepped out gallantly across 
the cloth. 

"You get right off that table, Cleo!" said Mrs. Higbee. 

On that January evening, Roy Drover telephoned: 

"Bradd Criley is going to be in town tomorrow, just for the 

one day, to see the Wargates. He'll have an hour free, and he's 

coming to my place for cocktails. I want you and Jinny to show 

up. Now don't be a mule. Let bygones be bygones. Live and 

let live " 

Cass interrupted with a sharp, "I'll do whatever Jinny says/* 
It was at the peaceful time of the evening. Jinny was reading 
a new book filled with significant social trends and portents: 
Dealings with the Firm of Dombey and Son, Wholesale, Re- 
tail, and for Exportation. She was stroking the younger Cleo 
and, though she had become an absolute Trappist as regards 
candy, she gave the feeling that she was now and then con- 
fidently reaching for a bon-bon. 

Cass studied her contentment, and he spoke reluctantly: 
"Jin, Bradd will be in town for a few hours tomorrow, and 
Roy wants us to come for cocktails with him." 
She stared. "I don't want to see him!" Her violence betrayed 

388 



that she was afraid to see him, that she longed to see him, that 
she had to see him. 
"I guess he's one fact we'd better face," said Cass patiently. 

In Dr. Drover's sun-room, with its pea-green wicker chairs, 
there were eight people, all friends of Bradd, who with mag- 
nificent tact played his role of Home Boy Who Went to the 
City and Made Good but Will Never, Never Forget His Old 
Friends. 

He kissed Queenie, Lillian, and Diantha on the cheek, and 
Rose on the mouth, but with Jinny Timberlane he shook hands 
cordially, exactly as he did with Jinny's reticent husband. 

It seemed to Cass impossible that he could either have loved 
or hated this fellow. He was too brisk, too obvious, too un- 
familiar. This was another Bradd. Success and the great city 
had claimed him. 

He was full of quips and of names which he considered 
famous. He let them know how chummy he had become with 
a stock-broker, an aviation magnate, a female columnist for- 
merly a professional lady, but he was not blown with all this 
social grandeur. He kept yelling, "You don't see any Park 
Avenue dames as handsome as Queenie," and "Let me know 
when you hit town, Rose, and I'll get ringside seats for the 
opera." 

After half an hour, Jinny said, "I'm afraid we'll have to go 
home now." 

They shook hands with Bradd and with everybody else avail- 
able. In the street, Cass said, "Well?" 

. "I know. Oh, darling, the man is a monkey, a monkey on a 
stick! I'm so glad I saw him, though. I never really saw him 
before. That charm-peddler! And I never really saw you before. 
Cass, I Don't you see what I'm trying to tell you?" 

"Yes." 

She was so serious that it was not till dinner that she said, 
"And that was the worst tie he had on. Like these colored pic- 
tures of vegetable soup. And I'll bet he spent nine dollars for it. 
You*!! never wear a tie like that!" 

389 



Late at night he awoke to find her standing in his doorway, 
a moth against the light from the hall. 

"I thought maybe you would come in and see me. I was very 
cold," she said plaintively. "Couldn't I crawl in your bed and 
get warm?" 

Then, for her and his love for her, he gave up his vested right 
to be tragic, gave up pride and triumph and all the luxury of 
submerged resentment, and smiled at her with the simplicity 
of a baby. 

"Dear Jinny 1* he said, and she confided, 'I'm going to get 
new storm-windows on my room, even if I have to put them 
up myself. I could, too! I'm the best storm-window fixer in 
this town. You'll see!" 



390